Tuesday, November 22, 2005

winds of change....blow again and...

....finally reach places that seemed to be filled with vacuum all this while....

Bihar and the selectors heads.

Finally Bihar gets the sense to kick Laloo out, finally!...Gosh those ppl r so slow!

This op-ed piece in the Express said it all,

Back in the picture...

Two days before the Bihar assembly election results, Nitish Kumar was at a dinner in Delhi, still answering questions from doubting Thomases about why he felt so confident — quietly confident, as befits the man’s understated demeanour — of victory.

Finally, exasperated and allowing himself a hint of a smile, Nitish broke his silence, ‘‘Arre bhai I agree there has been some MY ( Muslim-Yadav, for the uninitiated) consolidation, but there are others who vote also ... Don’t non-MYs vote?’’

Having made his point, he threw his head back and said, almost wistfully, ‘‘I have no complaints. The Election Commission did a good job, all our grievances were addressed. This election has been a genuine test of popularity — if Laloo wins he is more popular, if we win we are more popular. There will be no scope for doubt.’’

A little later the same evening, Sushil Modi — BJP leader and Nitish’s ally in Bihar — silenced another interrogator keen to know the difference between the February and November elections. ‘‘The mood for change,’’ replied Sushil, ‘‘was strong, very strong.’’

The two politicians were to prove prophetic. Between them they had spelt out the three reasons that made the difference in Bihar this time. They even named the final tally: ‘‘140 plus’’.
So it turned out to be, thanks to the arithmetic of caste coalition building, the rigorous physical framework laid out by the EC — and the chemistry of change in a society yearning to move on.

In Laloo’s defeat Bihar has made the journey to post-Mandalism. Caste is still important, OBC empowerment is still a dominant theme — Nitish, after all, is a Kurmi — but no longer can ‘‘Backward assertion’’ be seen as synonymous with Yadav raj and substitute for proactive government.

Laloo, the Mandal movement’s poster boy, had started to think of himself as the whole poster. He’s been shaken out of his time warp — much like his mustachioed man Friday who told NDTV 24x7 at 9 am on Tuesday, ‘‘Hum dus baje ka baad jeetenge, jab gaon ka vote gina jayega (We’ll win after 10 am, when the rural votes are counted).’’

In a sense, this election welcomes Bihar back to India. In the years after the decline of the Congress, state after state went through a chaotic interlude before settling into a sort of bipolarity. From Tamil Nadu to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh to Kerala, Indian states are increasingly two-party — or two-alliance — battlegrounds.

Bipolarity — as opposed to menacing monopoly or messy multipolarity — lends itself to relative stability, keeps governments under watch and curbs the space for blackmailing ‘‘third forces’’ who jump from one ship to the other.

The two states that spent the 1990s resolutely resisting the natural evolution towards a bipolar system were Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. With this election, Bihar has ended its boycott. Two coalitions centred on individual core groups — Yadavs for the RJD; non-Yadav OBCs and the upper caste for the BJP — have demonstrated a certain sustaining power.

If they continue to define the Bihar polity — such as it is — the state could be far more pacific than the imminent ‘‘caste wars’’ direly predicted by Congress cronies on DD News right through Tuesday.

Are there larger, national implications of the Bihar election? For a start, the NDA is back in business, having conquered a state where it was a write-off a year ago. That the alliance remained intact despite 18 months out of power — even if Congress functionaries were happily planting stories all of this past winter about how ‘‘Nitish could join the UPA’’ — indicates its resilience.

If obituaries of the NDA were obviously overstated, the UPA needs to concoct a new elixir for itself. True, the government at the Centre is in no danger. Yet, Ram Vilas Paswan will now be Laloo’s — and the CPI(M)’s — fall guy and probably be turfed out of the ruling alliance. Junior allies will get more prickly. A bolstered NDA — particularly the very vocal JD(U) contingent in the Lok Sabha — is going to be rampant.

The biggest problem will be that of the Left. No longer can it afford the luxury of being the UPA’s in-house opposition. ‘‘Fascist forces’’ have captured the ultimate citadel of ‘‘secularism’’. It is the NDA that will now lead the attack on the government, and play the real opposition. Prakash Karat’s phoney war is over.

At the back of its mind, however, the Left will not be thinking of Bihar 2005 as much as West Bengal 2006. As a senior IAS officer in Patna stressed, the EC’s arrangements this time were designed to negate ‘‘scientific rigging’’.

For the first time, Central paramilitary forces didn’t just patrol a district generally but actually manned booths. Two and a half million ‘‘bogus voters’’ were removed from the rolls. The EC requisitioned army and air force helicopters for aerial surveillance.

‘‘It was almost exciting for the voter,’’ said the civil servant, ‘‘to vote under the security of a Punjab commando. He felt that much more confident that his vote would count ... This triggered the mood for change, so much so that by the third and fourth phases, even the bureaucracy felt it.’’

The only people who didn’t sense the ‘‘mood for change’’ were, of course, Delhi’s election tourists, the ‘‘national’’correspondents who happily reported a ‘‘kaante ki takkar’’. On the contrary, among those who did sense change were election observers from West Bengal. As one of them confessed to a Bihar cadre colleague, ‘‘If the EC insists on similar measures in West Bengal in May 2006, heaven knows ...’’

From the land of Gautam Buddha to the land of Chief Minister Buddha, how far can the EC’s dogged struggle for a foolproof election make it a catalyst for change? We’ll know next summer. For the moment, grant Nitish his nirvana.


Meanwhile another change in guard took place in Chennai when the selectors booted out Ganguly from the captaincy of the Indian Cricket team and appointed Rahul Dravid at the helm of affairs. This was expected but when u hear ppl complain y we dont respect our heroes, u start wonderin why the heroes dont understand that all good things come to an end.

It’s time to look ahead, says More

Rahul Dravid was apointed India’s undisputed cricket captain today when the selectors named him to lead the Test team in next month’s series against Sri Lanka. His predecessor, Sourav Ganguly, is likely to make the cut when the selectors meet again tomorrow to pick the team to play under Dravid.

‘‘It is time to look ahead,’’ chief selector Kiran More said while announcing the decision. ‘‘Rahul Dravid has done extremely well as an ODI captain and it is only appropriate that he is given an opportunity in Tests.’’

The decision — which probably also confirms Dravid’s status as permanent ODI captain — will be welcomed across the board because, though expected, it remained in the realm of uncertainty. When the selectors met to pick the ODI captain last month they named Dravid for only two series; today’s announcement removes the sword from above his head

Dravid has captained India in five Tests so far but has played a large role as a batsman in Ganguly’s success as captain.

Initially labelled as a technically strong bat but unable to score at a good pace, Dravid’s prolific run began in Ganguly’s first Test series as a captain against Australia in 2001.
That epochal innings at Eden Gardens was followed by similar efforts at Port Elizabeth, Georgetown, Trent Bridge, Headlingley, Adelaide, Kandy and Rawalpindi. One spell saw him scoring four centuries in successive Test innings; another had four double-centuries in the space of 15 Tests.

Ironically, one of Dravid’s first acts as Test captain will be to sit with his coach and the selectors tomorrow morning and decide on his predecessor’s fate.

It appears a done deal, though; Ganguly, now in Pune for a Ranji Trophy match, has already informed the board that he is willing to play under any captain if selected in the team.

This follows an unofficial meeting between top Board officials and the former captain, where the latter was convinced that the only way back in the test team for him was as a batsman under another captain.

His batting abilities are not in doubt, and he has centuries both in the last Test series (in Zimbabwe) and the current domestic season (Duleep Trophy) to back his case. He’s also brushed up his bowling skills, taking 14 wickets in the Duleep Trophy.

So Team India is firmly set on the way forward, with a captain and coach in sync and a team of selectors who are playing ball. Greg Chappell’s appointment raised expectations, but they were always voiced with the rider that he needed a captain he could work with. Now it’s time to deliver.


Blogger dumbs said...

One good ting that's come up with India's win against Srilanka is that now no player's position in the team is permanent

5:06 PM  
Blogger susubala said...

"Winds of change" was cool...

Nice to gothrough ur blog and one needs more patience than anxiety.

11:06 PM  

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