Thursday, May 29, 2014

Article 370

Shikaras are a common feature in lakes and riv...
Shikaras are a common feature in lakes and rivers across the Kashmir valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The recent row over Article 370 in India surprised me. First, I don't seem to know much about it. I have a vague idea that it is some kind of a special provision for Kashmir that was put in place around independence/partition, but I don't have good knowledge of the details. I guess I can always google it up and I doubt it is that complex a concept.

But this row was bad timing. This was like Bill Clinton became president in 1992 and the gays in the military came up, and that was a major distraction from the major agenda of the economy.

Or it was designed to get the NDA partners to fall in line. I don't need you, so if you speak right on Article 370, I will still keep you. But I doubt that was the idea.

It would be disrespectful of Modi to suggest that.

I actually like the idea of science and math education in madarsas. I did not know science and math were not taught in madarsas when I read that line in the BJP manifesto summary before the election.

I am of the opinion the goal should not be to strengthen hold on Kashmir, the goal should be to attempt a South Asian Economic Union, so national borders are reduced to mere formalities. There is maximum trade and commerce. That is what is in the best interests of the people.

Article 370
This article specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications and ancillary matters (matters specified in the instrument of accession) the Indian Parliament needs the State Government's concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state's residents lived under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. ...... Similar protections for unique status exist in tribal areas of India including those in Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Nagaland. However, it is only for the state of Jammu and Kashmir that the accession of the state to India is still a matter of dispute between India and Pakistan still on the agenda of the UN Security Council and where the Government of India vide 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord committed itself to keeping the relationship between the Union and Jammu and Kashmir State within the ambit of this article. ..... The 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord between Kashmiri politician Sheikh Abdullah and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi stated, "The State of Jammu and Kashmir which is a constituent unit of the Union of India, shall, in its relation with the Union, continue to be governed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India". ...... B. R. Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Constitution of India, was against Article 370 and it was included against his wishes. Balraj Madhok reportedly said, Dr. Ambedkar had clearly told Sheikh Abdullah, "You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But Government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal, would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the Law Minister of India, will never do it." Then Abdullah went to Nehru, who directed him to N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, who approached Sardar Patel asking him to do something as it was a matter of prestige for Nehru, who had promised Abdullah accordingly. Patel got it passed when Nehru was on a foreign tour. On the day this article came up for discussion, Dr. Ambedkar did not reply to questions on it though he did participate on other articles. All arguments were done by Krishna Swami Ayyangar.
Integral review of Article 370 overdue, but needs cooperation not confrontation: Congress leader Karan Singh
Accepting that J&K is an 'integral part' of India, Singh said that does not necessarily mean that it has to be treated exactly on par with other states. He said, "Hong Kong is an 'integral part' of China but has been given a special dispensation. There are in fact numerous examples around the world in which, due to special circumstances, certain areas or regions have been given a special dispensation. Though all talk of secession is totally unacceptable and uncalled for, the steam-roller approach is also not appropriate." ..... Singh also said that 50 percent of the area of his father's 84,000 sq miles state is in fact not in Indian possession. "It has been under Pakistan control since the UN's brokered ceasefire on 1 January 1949, and Pakistan has leased a considerable portion of this land to China. An interesting point also is that in the three regions of the state that are with us, Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, the bulk of public opinion differs sharply on this issue," he said.
Omar Abdullah & Ram Madhav start war of words over Article 370
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has raised the pitch against the minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh's comments on repealing Article 370, saying that the Constituent Assembly will have to be recalled if the new BJP-led government at the Centre plans to pursue this agenda. Taking issue with Abdullah, senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Ram Madhav said J&K would always remain an integral part of India, with or without the constitutional provision that grants a special status to the state. ...... "I understand the political compulsion of the BJP but the party should ponder upon the promises they have made to the people. Why attack J&K first?" he asked. ....... Abdullah has been consistently asserting that J&K has not merged but acceded to India. ...... "If you are attempting any change in Article 370, it means you want to renegotiate a new relationship with J&K," PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said. ...... "If BJP wants to bring the J&K people closer, they should talk about strengthening Article 370 rather than abolishing it," she said. "I hope Dr Singh does not put the foot in his mouth again and the Prime Minister intervenes and disciplines his ministers."
What is Article 370? Three key points
till 1965, J&K had a Sadr-e-Riyasat for governor and prime minister in place of chief minister.... According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir. Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
Article 370 part of BJP agenda not NDA's: Nitin Gadkari
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Smriti Irani In Modi's Cabinet

Uttar Pradesh: 35 SP, 35 BSP, 10 Congress

The Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
The Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India (Photo credit: dms_303)
Correspondingly, for the assembly, 139 SP, 135 BSP, 50 Congress.

That would be a winning formula to go for. But first Akhilesh has to cultivate a laser focus on development. No coalition building can beat Modi if you don't compete with him on development.

Could this coalition come together, or will it wait until the BJP also gives a drubbing to these three at the state level?
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Modi: The Politician I Read Most About

Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singa...
English: Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, being escorted by United States Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld through an honour cordon and into the Pentagon. They met to discuss bilateral security issues including the war on terrorism: see DefenseLINK news photos. US Department of Defense (). Retrieved on . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Narendra Modi has become the politician I read most about these days. Deep inside it is my suspicion that he might be India's Lee Kuan Yew, that he might be India's Deng Xiaoping. I need Modi to give India double digit growth rates, year in, year out, no dips, no recessions. Double digit is not eight per cent, not nine per cent. Double digit is 10% or more.

Culturally speaking I am an Indian. I am an Indian who grew up in Nepal. And I want Modi to succeed. I like his laser focus on the economy. I like his no nonsense attitude of management. I like his decisiveness.
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Modi Wave Or Pendulum Swing?

It is interesting to me that the non-Congress, non-BJP parties collectively got more votes than either the BJP or the Congress. What is even more interesting is that the BJP has grown largely at the expense of the Congress.

I think Modi has earned himself 10 years. But in a post-Modi scenario there is going to be room for the creation of a Third Front.

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