Mamata Banerjee a spoilsport says a simple woman

Taniya Bhardwaj: I hold offers from the University College, London and the School of Oriental and African Studies to study development and administration. I too will probably leave, and now you know the reason why.

Taniya Bhardwaj a student of political science from Presidency University who was labelled as ‘Maoist’ by Mamata Banerjee on a news channel and became a centre of attraction, writes an open letter to CM:

Dear ‘Simple Man’,

On being asked a simple question, you acquired a complicated avatar. We all went to the CNN-IBN question-answer session on Friday, May 18, at the Town Hall expecting to hear some heated exchanges, but it got too hot to handle.

You, the most important person in West Bengal, labelled me and the rest of the audience ‘Maoist and CPM cadres’. What exactly did we do to deserve this honour? We asked you questions. I asked you whether affiliates of your party, specifically minister Madan Mitra and MP Arabul Islam, who wield power, should act, or should have acted, more responsibly.

Like many others, I was also greatly disturbed when Madan Mitra pronounced his own judgement on a rape victim before the police were done investigating. This woman, whose character was assassinated, is an Anglo-Indian, a member of the minority community. Thus, if we were to even forget about sensitivity, the question of political correctness still hangs over his conduct.

A few months ago, this very same man had misbehaved with policemen who had stopped his car on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass as part of its routine. As for the Arabul Islam case, it is still making headlines.

I asked you something that had been on the minds of most people around me, people who voted for ‘paribartan’ (change). Is this what we expect of our leaders? The ones who set examples and whom people follow. This is all that I wanted to know. What I got to know, instead, is that in West Bengal, asking a question can be the equivalent of being a Maoist.

‘Simple man’, you claimed with pride on stage that you’re not a feminist.

That proclamation did not surprise us, especially after the Katwa and Park Street cases. You also spoke of democracy. The answers you gave to the questions you took before mine were sprinkled with words like ‘people’, ‘democracy’, and ‘Bengal’.

But one of the most important features of a true democracy, which I have learnt as a student of political science, is freedom of expression. This freedom is the one that allows an individual to express oneself, to not have to mince words out of fear of authority. It involves enjoying a chuckle or two at cartoon about important public figures.

Sadly, there seems to be a gradual failure in this aspect of the democratic machinery in the state. And just like I won’t become a Maoist simply because you called me one, the state too won’t epitomize democracy unless it is truly so in all spheres. All said and done, what you did was in haste and it made me the centre of attention. And as you stomped off in fury, you automatically assumed the role of the spoilsport.

It would have been so much more ‘simple’ had you just answered my question, or even said “No comments” and moved on. The question became so important because you chose to make it important.

You have spoken of ‘brain drain’ so many times. I hold offers from the University College, London and the School of Oriental and African Studies to study development and administration. I too will probably leave, and now you know the reason why. Had you stayed on, it would have been fun. And you would have honestly been ‘a Chief Minister with a difference’. The role of your office as Chief Minister is to aggregate interest – you should at the least have heard us all out.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. So said Abraham Lincoln.

Love

A Simple Woman – Taniya Bhardwaj

Undemocratic Mamata orders police inquiry on student who raised voice!!!

Cartoon: R. Prasad: Sohail Abdi, a second-year student of history at Presidency College who was also present on the TV show, said Mamata was ‘undemocratic’.

Next time you get a chance to ask West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee a question or criticise any of her moves, think twice as you could be labelled a Maoist sympathiser or a CPM cadre.

Taniya Bhardwaj, a student of political science at Kolkata’s Presidency College, dared to do as much on a TV news channel’s show on Friday at the Town Hall here. A furious Mamata labelled Taniya a ‘Maoist and a CPM cadre’ and asked the police to do a background check on those asking awkward questions.  Immediately after the show was recorded on Friday evening, some officers of the state police’s special branch descended on the TV channel’s office in Kolkata and demanded that the contact details of the participants be handed over.

She asked a simple question about the conduct of state ministers and officials over crimes against women. Taniya is now quite apprehensive about the consequences as the Kolkata police have already started collecting information about the students who asked Banerjee uncomfortable questions on the show.

‘Have I done anything wrong? I just asked a simple question. She could have avoided the question easily. But she started castigating the audience instead,’ Taniya said.

The CM lost her cool when members in the audience questioned her on the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and the increased attacks on women in the state.

Read full story by SOUDHRITI BHABANI  in MailOnlineIndia: Didi unleashes cops on students

Congress in throes of terminal illness in Hyderabad

Mobashar Jawed “M.J.” Akbar, the Editor of The Sunday Guardian and editorial director, India Today and Headlines Today writes about media greed, conscience and coercive instruments used by Congress to suppress media in his column titled Cats, whiskers and mice in The Dawn (Pakistan):

Every victor in a democracy now knows that defeat is only a matter of time; the age of permanent re-election is so last century.

But as long as that dismal horizon seems only a distant possibility, the powerful remain serene if not smug.

When possibility metamorphoses into probability, good judgment begins to disappear. The mood gets brittle. The prospect of life outside the pomp and perquisites of office makes ministers frantic, and sends chief ministers (as well as their mentors) into a frenzy.

What other explanation can there be for the crude decision in Andhra Pradesh to freeze the bank accounts of the Sakshi media group in the expectation that its print and audio-visual properties would collapse?

It is obvious that the Congress government in Hyderabad is in the throes of a terminal illness. The party is being taken apart by a nutcracker: Telengana is one handle, and the rising popularity of Jagan Reddy the other. The Congress is loath to acknowledge that both these handles are self-created.

….It is time its sympathisers told Congress that quasi-censorship does not work, for two reasons. Media has more resilience than governments imagine. It is also counterproductive, for in popular assessment it only exaggerates the impact of bad news. If you have something to hide, then it must truly be terrible. An odour turns into a stink, precisely because you are not allowed to gauge its level. The best recipe for media is to leave it alone. Some politicians cannot resist feeding it occasionally, and if this
feed is just information, no harm and perhaps some good done. The fate of governments is not determined by media. When governments die, it is always suicide, never murder.

Read the full column in the Dawn: Cats, whiskers and mice

Modi-1st Indian OBC leader in TIME

Soon after Narendra Modi was featured on the cover of Time magazine last month, his media managers went into overdrive saying the Gujarat chief minister was the firstIndian OBC leader to get this distinction.

Surprising this from a former poster-boy of Hindutva who has shunned the caste tag for wider acceptance in the majority community.

But as he faces assembly polls later this year – and aspires for a larger national role later – Modi is clearly positioning himself as an OBC leader for two reasons. First, he is wooing the OBCs to offset a deviant Patel vote-bank. At another level, he is pitching himself against two possible NDA contenders for prime ministership – Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan – both OBC leaders. The strategy makes sense. OBCs constitute about 30% and Patels around 20 % of the population in Gujarat.

Mamata, Pawar, Ramesh, Sibal & Selja in que to start channels

After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her desire to start her very own television channel and newspaper to ward off the negative publicity that she has been garnering, it looks like there are many other politicians in the fray who wants to utilize the media, the Didi-way.

Similar requests have emerged from several UPA ministers to the government expressing their keenness to start TV channels to make the common man aware of the “ministries’ achievements” and “people friendly policies”. Mamata was the first among the lot who wanted a dedicated channel to propagate her and her party’s views.

Among the ministers who want themselves and their ministries featured on TV are agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, Jairam Ramesh (rural development), Kapil Sibal (HRD) and culture minister Kumari Selja. Sources have been quoted as saying that the ministries were of the view that dedicated channels were required considering the specialised nature of their domains.

The proposals are, however, stuck at the proposal level before the planning commission. The commission is taking it easy for the time being since the cost of setting up each channel would cost close to Rs 200 crore each.

courtesy: OneIndia News

Promised Delivered – Mamata’s Achievments in 168 pages( 4 of which are ‘ulta’)

AMID NEGATIVE NEWS, 168 PAGES OF GOOD NEWS IN BENGAL

The answer was blowin’ in the wind and rolling off the presses while the chief minister was insisting

“you (a section of the media) only see the negative, you don’t see anything positive“.

A 168-page paperback, titled Promises Delivered and printed in glazed paper, is available for anyone willing to fork out Rs 100 and eager to read about the achievements of the new government which feels its good work is not being given enough recognition.

Advance copies have already started reaching the tables of senior officials who were caught by surprise because they were already working on such a list for the big day round the corner: the Mamata Banerjee government’s first anniversary next month.

“Very few people in Writers’ actually knew that it was getting published…. Everyone is now working on the oneyear commemoration book, scheduled to be published next month,“ said a senior state government official.

Others were marvelling at the production quality and size of the tom-tom tome. “This is the first time that I have seen such a voluminous publication about the government’s achievements,“ said an official who got the book free yesterday after the chief minister’s office started distributing it.

Some officials suggested the chief minister’s office wanted the publication “as soon as possible“ to counter what Mamata has described as “slander and conspiracy“ in the foreword of the book. (See excerpts in chart) If such a word did indeed go out, those who printed the book appear to have spared no effort:

such was the haste that Pages 41-44 in at least one copy have been printed upside down.

But that should not take anything away from the effort to highlight the achievements the government has managed over the past 11 months.

After explaining the problems -mainly financial constraints -that she has faced in her attempt to deliver on development, the chief minister has highlighted some of the major achievements in her four-page foreword, which have been explained later in detail under different department heads.

“Some are publicly criticising us without mentioning our good performances. This is unmixed conspiracy….False statements are issued forth and facts and statistical data are being ignored,“

she has written in the foreword.

The past few weeks have been a public relations disaster for the government and the chief minister, culminating in the arrest of the Jadavpur University professor for emailing a cartoon.

Against such a backdrop, the book presumably hopes to set the record straight and bring those who strayed back to the straight and the narrow.

Sources in the state secretariat said that around 10,000 copies of the book -a majority of them in English and the remaining in Urdu and Santhali -have been printed from government-owned Saraswaty Press. Unlike most government publications, quality paper has been used for Promises Delivered, which has several colour pictures of Mamata, some of them reliving the happiest moments of her chief ministerial career. Among them are a November 10, 2011, picture with Sharmila Tagore and Shah Rukh Khan at the film festival inauguration and another a week later with Sachin Tendulkar at the Eden.

A senior official of the state information and cultural affairs department, which has published the book, said that the main objective of the book was to make people aware of what the government has done. “It is nothing new. The book is basically a translation in English, Urdu and Santhali from the book published in Bengali to mark the new government’s 200 days in power,“ he said.

The government had brought out a Bengali book -Kichu Kotha, Kichu Kaj (Some words, some work) -in January as Mamata had promised in her manifesto that she would give the people of the state the chance to evaluate her. “We could not distribute the book to all the departments that time and that’s why we have brought out the English version now,“ said the official.

Such a publication would not have drawn much attention but for the fact that government of Trinamul spokespersons have been repeatedly speaking of negative publicity .

Last evening, the chief minister herself had complained of negative news and said in response to a question on development:

“Had you seen the positive side too, you would notice that this government’s performance is 100 out of 100.“

The only problem is if the paperback becomes a bestseller, the state may end up losing money , although for a good cause. Off the record, some officials put the cost of producing the book between Rs 150 and Rs 200 a piece, which means if more and more readers buy it at the official price tag of Rs 100, the state will be adding to its losses.

The Telegraph does not intend to add to the burden of the state exchequer but it is sticking to the cardinal paperback code of not letting out the suspense-filled contents of Promises Delivered.

Instead, the newspaper has done the next best positive thing to plug the book by unabashedly offering a sneak preview of the foreword and highlighting the outlet (see chart) from where you can buy it.

Happy reading! Courtesy: The Telegraph