Feigned surprise, hurt…
HYPOCRISY and Indian politics go hand-in-hand, even when other arrangements rupture. Patently “crocodile” are the tears the BJP is shedding over the NDA fracture. Do those now calling the saffron shots expect anyone to believe they did not factor in Narendra Modi&’s unacceptability to alliance partners before elevating him to lead the party&’s 2014 campaign? And do they really think the public can be fooled by the technicality that he is yet to be formally anointed its prime ministerial candidate? What is their need to camouflage the return to the Hindutva agenda ~ unless they are uncomfortable, ashamed at abandoning the “inclusive” line Vajpayee had taken when creating the NDA. If junking that line was not a calculated decision, sinister perhaps, Rajnath Singh and his cohorts are as naive as the incredulity they project over the JD (U) estrangement. Equally hypocritical were the appeals by the BJP&’s “old guard” to Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav not to end the 17-year-old partnership: if they were sincere about the NDA they would have forcefully protested Modi&’s elevation at the Goa conclave. Advani&’s sham illness was in keeping with the hollow appeals for unity, a continuation of the charade.
It is astounding that the BJP asks “why now”? It knows the answer ~ Modi, and what he represents. Sure there ever was a personal dimension to the face-off between the two bearded` chief ministers, but that was not all. Nitish, and the JD (U) simply, cannot afford to antagonise the Muslims, to whom Modi epitomises the ugly face of Hindutva. And when Modi&’s hand-picked lieutenant “took charge” of UP affairs he was quick to declare that Mandir was back on the front-burner. That is the changed, or reversed, face of the BJP as it approaches 2014. The mukhota has been discarded. Modi is too brazen to consider any sugar-coating ~ note that he neither “pleaded” with the JD (U), nor for that matter with Advani as he marginalised the “patriarch” days earlier. Not that he has no time for hypocrisy, his wooing sections of the Muslims in Gujarat is widely perceived as a facade. No Mr Modi and Messrs BJP, “development” cannot erase communalism. The malice was carefully forethought.
Only the future will establish if the messy divorce will cost the BJP more than the JD (U). The shameless Congress is bending over backwards to lure Nitish ~ proving it is aware that the roiling in the BJP/NDA does not necessarily roll out the red carpet for UPA-III.


Revolution to Reformation?
WITH the march of time, Iran has voted for change rather than continuity. From the revolution in 1979, the country has seemingly moved on to effect a reformation in 2013. The moderate reformist, Hassan Rohani, has been elected as President with a convincing majority, so substantial indeed that it will preclude the need for a second round. The profound message of the vote is that the people are shrilling for change, both in the priorities of governance, the dealings with the West, and the social construct. In one stroke, the result has sidelined the conservative hardliners and the previous head of state, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had fallen out with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Beyond the result, the added twist in Iran is that the final say in matters of state, including the nuclear programme, is the preserve of the supreme cleric. The other issues of critical import are Iran&’s support for Syrian President Bashr al-Assad in the civil war, and the legacy of tense relations with the West. While a dramatic paradigm shift cannot be expected quite yet, President Obama will hopefully offer fresh talks. A thaw in foreign relations can be expected, but for the electorate it is the bread-and butter issues that will matter. Chiefly, in the shape of more social freedoms at home after eight years of confrontation and repression under Ahmadnejad, the hardliner.
There is hope yet as Rohani has pledged to promote a policy of “constructive interaction with the world” and to enact a charter of civil rights. Once a nuclear negotiator, he did seem to be a better bet than Saeed Jalili, the favourite of the hardliners. As a moderate, he will be expected to deviate from the compulsions of a theocratic state, and most crucially open up the economy that grapples with a whopping inflation rate that is above 45 per cent per annum. Politics, even within the confines of an Islamic state, can be ever so polarised and the world will expect that Rohani will not be hobbled in his functioning. Iran has jettisoned the dominant hardline, and the pro-reform sentiment is now palpable enough. And the popular grandstanding ~ “Long live reform, long live Rohani, and Ahmadi bye-bye” ~ mirrors the overwhelming mood in favour of change.


Governor, Chancellor on collision course
MEGHALAYA Governor RS Mooshahary, who is Visitor of the Chandra Mohan Jha University, and its Chancellor, CM Jha, are on a collision course. Last month, the former claimed he had not given permission for appointment of a cCancellor. He alleged the university was issuing degrees in contravention of the established standards and ordered the sealing of the university office. The Visitor further charged the university with not submitting its annual report as per the University Act 2009 under which it was established. On May 15 the judicial magistrate issued a warrant of arrest against Jha but so far the state CID has not been able to get hold of him. The state regulatory board of higher education has accepted the Governor&’s suggestion for “dissolution” of the university in the interest of maintaining proper standards.
On 14 June, Jha sent a letter duly signed by him through his legal adviser, accusing the Governor of “twisting facts to show the university in a poor light”. The legal adviser told a press conference that the Governor was “trying to be the complainant, the investigator and the judge” in the case. The bigger question is that if Jha is absconding, where did he sign the letter? University officials claimed Jha was not on the run but very much in Bihar taking care of his ailing father. Then how come the state CID has not been able to arrest him so far? Which implies the legal adviser, or for that matter even university officials, are in touch with Jha. The case cannot be kept under wraps for long for the simple reason that the controversy has shattered the dreams of many a student.