MHA to be bifurcated?

The all-powerful Ministry of Home Affairs may lose some of its sheen in the new Narendra Modi government with consultations on to bifurcate it and take out the crucial Internal Security department to bring it under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

This proposal, which the security experts gave thumbs up, is the only one that runs contrary to Modi’s plans of amalgamating key infrastructure ministries and make his Cabinet a sleek one.

Image

If the proposal goes through, sources said, the control of intelligence agencies and NIA will be under the new mechanism. A Minister of State may be brought in to handle the new wing and he will be made to report to the Prime Minister.

A final call is yet to be made but the consultations are on in this issue, sources said. If the proposal goes through, the speculation is that former Home Secretary R K Singh, a BJP MP, may fit in the bill as the MoS (Internal Security).

“During times like these, a Minister in charge of internal security should not be worried about freedom fighters’ pension and all. He should be focussed on his job and a separate internal security minister is a logical necessity,” Ajai Sahni, Executive Director of Institute of Conflict Management, told Deccan Herald.

However, he was not enthusiastic about putting the new ministry under the PMO, saying putting everything in its control may clutter its functioning.

Former BSF Director General Prakash Singh said a minister who understands the challenges of internal security should be made its in-charge. “It should be bifurcated as we do not have a superman to lead Home Ministry,” he said.

The present Home Ministry apparatus has six departments under which there are 20 divisions.

Image

The Department Internal Security deals with monitoring of ISI activities, Home Secretary-level talks with Pakistan, insurgency, terrorism, naxalism, terrorist financing, rehabilitation, paramilitary forces, IPS cadre and law and order among other issues.

Once the internal security department is shifted out of the Ministry, it will not have the glamour quotient attached to it. The residuary Ministry will handle issues related to disaster management, official language, freedom fighters’ pension, police modernisation, human rights and judicial services.

This is not the first time that this proposal is mooted as P Chidambaram, during his tenure as Home Minister in the UPA-I and UPA-II had advocated it.

Chidambaram, who was MoS (Internal Security) in Home Ministry during the Rajiv Gandhi government, had in December 2009 mooted the idea, saying a separate Ministry should deal with subjects not directly related to internal security.

In 1986, Chidambaram was drafted in as MoS (Internal Security) to assist the Home Minister Buta Singh after Arun Nehru was moved out of the home ministry. During P V Narasimha Rao’s time, Rajesh Pilot similarly assisted SB Chavan.

However, this is the first time that such a mechanism being brought under the PMO.

(PS: The news report appeared in Deccan Herald on May 25, 2014)

LS getting wealthier

Lok Sabha is getting wealthier with increasing number of crorepatis entering the Lower House of Parliament while more and more with serious criminal charges manage to become MPs.

Private election watchdogs Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) said 82 per cent MPs of the newly elected Lok Sabha are crorepatis while 21 per cent have serious criminal charges slapped against them.

Image

Among 543 MPs in the new Lok Sabha, Sikar MP Sumedhanand Saraswati will stand out — the BJP nominee from Rajasthan is the poorest lawmaker in the 16th Lok Sabha that has 442 crorepatis and 121 with serious criminal charges.

In 2009, the number of crorepatis in Lok Sabha was just over 300 while those with serious criminal charges were 77.

While Saraswati has assets worth just Rs 34,311, the richest are from Andhra Pradesh which accounts for four slots in the top five. Guntur MP Jayadev Galla (TDP) is the richest with Rs 683 crore followed by Chevella MP Konda Vishweshar Reddy (TRS — Rs 528 crore) and Narsapuram member G G Raju (BJP – Rs 288 crore).

Other richest in the crorepati club are Butta Renuka, YSR Congress MP from Kurnool, with Rs 242 crore and Congress MP Kamal Nath from Chhindwara with Rs 206 crore assets.

The analysis showed that BJP’s 237 out of 282 MPs are crorepatis while 35 of Congress 44 are in the same club. All the 37 MPs of AIADMK are crorepatis.

The chances of winning for a crorepati candidate in the Lok Sabha 2014 elections are 20 per cent whereas for a candidate with low assets was 2 per cent.

“The average assets per winner for Lok Sabha 2014 elections are Rs. 14.61 crores whereas the average asset for each candidate was Rs. 3.16 crore. In 2009 the average assets per winner of 521 winners analysed was Rs. 5.35 crore,” the analysis said.

Image

On the crime side, 112 MPs with serious criminal cases have won this time and they face charges like murder, attempt to murder, communal disharmony, kidnapping and crimes against women etc. The outgoing Lok Sabha has around 80 MPs with serious charges against them. If one adds simple offences into this, the number of MPs will rise to 186.

Nine MPs have murder charges and 17 others attempt to murder against them while 16 have declared cases related to causing communal disharmony.

Sixty-three BJP MPs have serious criminal charges while Shiv Sena has eight such MPs, Trinamool Congress 4 and Congress and AIADMK three each.

(PS: An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 19, 2014)

From oldest Advani to ‘toddler’ Heena in Lok Sabha

At 86, veteran BJP leader L K Advani will be the grand old man of this Lok Sabha while five 26-years-old — including INLD chief Omprakash Chautala’s grandson Dushyant and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek — will be the babies.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (JD-S) will be the second oldest at 81 years.

Besides, Dushyant and Abhishek, the other youngest ones are Chennai-based doctor J Jayavardhan (Chennai-South — AIADMK), Heena Gavit (Nandurbar, BJP) and Raksha Nikhil (Raver, BJP).

Heena’s victory was against nine-time MP Manik Rao Gavit while Dushyant trounced Haryana Janhit Congress’ Kuldeep Bishnoi.

An analysis by PRS Legislative Research showed that the incoming Lok Sabha would be a little older than the earlier one with 253 of the total 543 MPs above the age of 55 as against 234 in the outgoing House.

“This is the largest number of MPs to be elected to the Lok Sabha who are above the age of 55 in the history of the country. Interestingly, the Lok Sabha has been getting older every election since independence. Only 71 MPs have been elected to the Lok Sabha in this election who happens to be under the age of 40,” the PRS said.

In the 41-55 years age group, there are 216 MPs while there are 212 in 56-70 age group. Fourty-one MPs are in the above 70 years age group.

Advani will be one of the senior most members in Lok Sabha, being a member from 1989 except for a brief period between 1996 and 1998.

However, Congress’ Kamal Nath (67), a nine-time MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara, will be the senior most in terms of his presence in Lok Sabha. He has been an MP of Lok Sabha from 1980 uninterruptly, except for a two-year period from 1996.

If Basudeb Acharia (CPIM) and Manikrao Gavit (Congress) had won this time, they would have the honour of being the senior most MPs as they would have been in the Lower House for tenth term.

On the education front, there are 33 MPs with doctorates as against 24 last time. Seventy-five per cent of the new MPs have at least a graduate degree, which is slightly lesser than last time’s 79 per cent.

“Interestingly, the percentage of MPs elected in the 2014 general elections who do not have a matriculate degree is significantly higher in this election (13 per cent or 69) in comparison to the 15th Lok Sabha (3 per cent or 20). At the same time, the number of MPs with just a matriculate degree has decreased in the 16th Lok Sabha to 10 per cent from 17 per cent,” the PRS said.

The analysis also showed that 144 MPs have shown agriculture as their profession followed by political and social work 132, business 111, lawyers 38, medical practitioner 24, teachers 22, artistes 18, civil, police and military service 8 and journalists 4 among others.

(PS: An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 19, 2014)

Modi is Second!

This is the only one place where Narendra Modi came second in this election! The BJP’s Prime Ministerial face could not script the record for the highest victory margin of Lok Sabha election history and had to settle for a second position, as he could not cross Marxist MP Anil Basu’s 5.92 lakh margin set in 2004.

Even if Modi missed the record, this election could set another record with around 330 MPs, mostly from BJP, winning with a margin of over one lakh votes while a BJP candidate scrape through in Ladakh with just 36 votes.

Image

Modi, who polled 8.45 lakh votes, romped home in Vadodara with ease, trumping Congress’ Madhusudhan Mistry by a margin of 5.70 lakh votes. The BJP strong man also won impressively with around 3.5 lakh votes.

This election also saw at least two BJP candidates getting more than five lakh votes while only twice in the past 63 years of election history, there were margins of five lakh. Apart from Basu’s 5.92 lakh margin, LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan, in 1989, had a victory with a margin of 5.04 lakh votes.

At one time, Ghaziabad winner and former Army Chief Gen V K Singh appeared to run over Modi’s record but had to finally settle for 5.67 lakh margin, just 2,868 votes less than the Prime Ministerial candidate’s margin. In Surat, BJP’s Darshana Vikram Jardosh won with a margin of 5.33 lakh.

A quick analysis of the Election Commission data showed that 332 MPs won with a margin of over one lakh with BJP topping the list with 198.

Image

In Gujarat, except for two, all the 24 other BJP winners had a margin of over one lakh, including L K Advani who won with over 4.83 lakh votes difference. Even the two MPs who could not cross one-lakh mark had over 63,000 vote margin.

Madhya Pradesh sent 26 of the 29 MPs had the six-digit victory margin. Only outgoing Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia found space in this club while top BJP leader Sushma Swaraj led the pack in this state with a margin of 4.10 lakh votes defeating Digvijaya Singh’s brother Lakshman.

In Rajasthan, which gave BJP all the 25 seats, 20 seats had a margin of over one lakh. The defeat was heavy for Congress stalwarts like C P Joshi (margin 3.32 lakh), Sachin Pilot (1.71 lakh), Jitendra Singh (2.83 lakh), Girija Vyas (3.16 lakh) and Mohd Azaruddin (1.35 lakh).

Uttar Pradesh had 61 winners with a margin of over one lakh, which included Modi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Fifty-two BJP MPs won with a six-digit margin.

Karnataka has 13 MPs with a margin of one lakh votes with former Chief Ministers B S Yeddyurappa (3.63 lakh margin) and D V Sadananda Gowda (.29 lakh votes) and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (1.004 lakh).

In states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha where regional parties had their way in the battle of ballots, they had huge margin, which ran into over one lakh.

POST SCRIPT: Of 543, four victorious MPs, all from BJP, bagged over eight lakh votes in their kitty with Modi on the third position. A total of 88 MPs managed to get more than six lakh votes in their names.

Jaipur MP Ram Charan Bohara polled the highest of 8.63 lakh votes while Sumitra Mahajan, an MP since 1989 and one of the second most senior lawmakers in the 16th Lok Sabha, garnered 8.54 lakh votes in Indore.

Modi polled 8.45 lakh votes in Vadodara while C R Patil from Gujarat’s Navsari bagged 8.20 lakh voters.

There are 14 MPs who won votes between seven and eight lakh, including top BJP leaders L K Advani (7.73 lakh) and Sushma Swaraj (7.14 lakh). Former Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda (7.18 lakh) and former Army chief V K Singh (7.58 lakh) are also in this club.

(PS: An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 18, 2014)

Polls2014: Of Women and Muslims

The 16th Lok Sabha has created a record of sorts. It will have the highest number of women MPs and the lowest number of Muslims in the 63-year-old history of the Lower House of Parliament.

With the BJP surging beyond the 272-mark, the number of Muslims in Lok Sabha has dwindled to 23, the lowest Muslim representation equalling the record of 1957. In the outgoing House, there were around 30 MPs.

This time, BJP does not have a single Muslim MP among them as one of its Muslims faces Shahnawaz Hussain lost in Bihar’s Bhagalpur.

Image

There are Muslim representation from only six states and one Union Territory while Uttar Pradesh that had given 71 out of 80 seats for the BJP did not return anyone from the minority community. West Bengal sent the highest number of eight Muslims to Lok Sabha while Bihar sent 4 and Kerala and Jammu Kashmir three each.

Among the prominent Muslim winners is former Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed (IUML) and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF). Only four out of 23 Muslim are women.

Muslims constitute 13.4 per cent or 13.8 crore of 1.2 billion population in the country.

While the picture about Muslims was dismal, there was something to cheer for women as their numbers touched an all-time high.

Image

The number touched 61, a marginal increase from outgoing Lok Sabha’s 59. However, the catch is that the strike rate of women candidates has come down drastically as 59 managed to win last time from 556 contesters while this time, only 61 could win from a total of over 700 aspirants.

The maximum of 13 came from Uttar Pradesh, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP firebrand Uma Bharti, followed by West Bengal 12 and Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra (5 each). Among the prominent women winners are Sushma Swaraj, Sumitra Mahajan (both BJP), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), K Kavita (TRS), and Shoba Karandlage (BJP).

In 2004, the corresponding number was 45, and in 1999, it was 49. The least number of women in the Lok Sabha were in 1957, which were 22.

(PS: The news report appeared in Deccan Herald on May 18, 2014)

Innocent and Rawal’s Parliament

Innocent and Paresh Rawal are on the opposite sides of the ideological spectrum but these two new MPs have a common thread — Rawal, BJP MP from Gujarat, enacted a number of roles in Hindi films that was first immortalised by Innocent, a Left-backed MP from Kerala, in Malayalam movies.

They brought laughter to cinema halls whenever they appeared in silver screen and now, they will bring wit to Parliament.

Rawal, a favourite of Malayalee director Priyadarshan, had given life to at least five characters Innocent portrayed in super hit Malayalam films when they were remade in Hindi in the 2000s.

Image

(Paresh Rawal)

Whether it Akshay Kumar-starrer Bhul Bulaya or Hera Pheri, Rawal matched Innocent shot by shot in performance.

Innocent’s 1993 role in Manichitrathaazhu, in which actress Sobhana won national award, was enacted by Rawal in Bhool Bulaya to peels of laughter in cinema halls while the Hindi actor also essayed Innocent’s roles in ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Mera Baap, Pehle Aap’, ‘Bhagam Bhaag’, ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Hulchul’.

Image

(Innocent)

The Malayalee actor, who survived cancer in the recent times, defeated senior Congress MP P C Chacko by over 14,000 votes while Rawal, a candidate picked up personally by Narendra Modi, is on the winning side with a margin of over 2.5 lakh.

Innocent and Rawal are not the only ones from the artist’s world. Bengal is sending a number of actors and singers to Parliament this time.

Singer Babul Supriyo (BJP), Tollywood superstar Deepak Adhikari aka Dev, Moon Moon Sen, Shatabdi Roy, Sandhya Roy and Tapash Paul (all Trinamool Congress candidates) are on the winning side from West Bengal.

However, Trinamool’s Biswajeet Chatterjee, who was fielded in south Delhi, lost miserably managing to garner only 846 seats.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, the ‘dream girl’ Hema Malini (BJP) trounced sitting MP Jayant Choudhry, son of RLD chief Ajit Singh while Kirron Kher (BJP) overcame the challenge of actress Gul Panag in Chandigarh. Yesteryear’s heart throb Vinod Khanna also pulled off from Gurdaspur while Manoj Tewari of BJP also was on the winning side in North-East Delhi seat.

BJP’s Shatrughnan Sinha was another prominent actor to win from Bihar’s Patna Saheb while director Prakash Jha (JDU) lost from Paschim Champaran.

On the wrong side of victory are Congress’ Ramya (Karnataka), Vijayashanti (Medak), Gul Panag (Chandigarh) and RLD’s Jayaprada (Bijnore).

Among the sportspersons, Olympian-shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore trounced Congress’ C P Joshi by a margin of around 3.20 lakh votes while others are not so lucky.

Mohd Kaif, the Congress candidate from Phulpur that was represented by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, managed to get over 32,000 votes only while the winner BJP candidate K P Maurya polled votes more than ten times.

Footballer Baichung Bhutia also lost by a margin of around 1.75 lakh to BJP rival S S Alhuwaliah in Darjeeling.

Polls 2014: Vote Share in Nutshell

Image

BJP polled 31.3 per cent votes in the Lok Sabha elections this time but managed to garner more than half of the seats while Congress, which got 19.5 per cent votes, could manage to win only less than one-tenth of the seats.

BJP got 17.02 crore out of a total of 55.13 crore votes polled during the nine-phased elections spanning over 35 days while Congress managed only 10.58 crore. The difference was 6.44 crore.

After a gap of 35 years, a single party is getting majority on its own and BJP has won 283 seats. This is the highest victory of the party which had just two seats in 1984.

Congress, which had 206 MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha, managed to get only 43 candidates to victory podium, in the worst performance of the Grand Old Party.

While BJP aqnd Congress managed to garner 50.8 per cent among themselves, the BSP, the main opposition in UP, came third with 4.2 per cent or 2.28 crore votes but it could manage to win a single seat anywhere, including its stronghold Uttar Pradesh.

Ironically, Samajwadi Party, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, garnered 3.4 per cent votes (1.86 crore) but won five seats.

Trinamool Congress managed to win 3.9 per cent votes or 2.12 crore votes but won 34 seats.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: