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A recent comment by Prime Minister Singh on whether he would throw his hat in the leadership ring for the next election generated a typical "I-really-don't-know-what-I-am-doing" comment from the Prime Minister of India.
A different breed
But the silence of this ruling class is amazing. It would seem that after they "connect" with whatever they are trying to connect to, they come back with renewed vigour and refreshed paws to grab and cheat.
India - and the world - has too many "diddlers": defined by the Thesaurus as "a cheat", and synonymous with "bilk, cheater, con artist, cozener, deceiver, defrauder, fraudster, grifter, scammer, shark, swindler, trickster, victimizer".
You get the picture.
People who know fully well what they are doing, but pretend they don't know.
People who know what their real reason for being in power is, but pretend it is something else.
So many ministers, bureaucrats, and businessmen involved in any activity (coal, telecom, railways, land rights, infrastructure, irrigation, food - the list is endless) have apparently been entering into mutually beneficial relationships at the cost of the tax payer.
And when a citizen grumbles or protests, the leaders show their true colours and arrogance.
Take the case of Ajit Pawar. With no water in the Ujani dam and none in the irrigation canals (by the way whatever happened to that scandal or was the white paper a cleansing mechanism?), Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar correctly pointed out that no one should expect him to urinate in the dam. He was reacting to news that a farmer from Solapur was on a hunger strike for 64 days and wanted water from the dam to be released to the parched fields.
His uncle, the revered Sharad Pawar, said that everyone should forget about the incident because the nephew had apologised. "His (Ajit Pawar's) speech was inappropriate and improper. Anyone who holds a seat of power must remember that with regard to issues that particularly concern the lives of people, they must be extra careful about what they say. I think his stand on the issue was wrong," the great leader proclaimed. "Once a person realises he has made a mistake and has apologised for the same, I think the issue should be laid to rest," concluded the practical uncle.
On allegations that there was a conspiracy and a special meeting to divert water from the Ujani dam to the sugar barons, daughter Supriya told Headlines Today: "Do you tell me everything that happens in your internal editorial meetings?"
And then the heir apparent to the Pawar dynasty (sorry, Ajit, you are stuck in the dry dam) dismissed any further discussions with a "you mind your own business; let us mind our own business." The sweet smiles and thick layers of indifference must be a by-product of the sugar business.
Nero born again?
Legend has it that while Rome burned for 6 days and 7 nights, Emperor Nero played the fiddle. Some suggest that he started the fire because he wanted the land cleared to build a palatial palace. Some accounts claim that Nero burned Christians in his garden as night lights.
Much as Narendra Modi and his followers continue to portray him as the next Prime Minister and the Great White Hope for India's disgruntled businesspeople, the journalists refuse to let go of that 6-letter word "Godhra". Kingshuk Nag, the author of the recently released, "The Namo Story" and writing in Outlook magazine (April 22, 2013) suggests that instructions, suggestions, hints were given to the rioters to do what they wanted for 3 days. The charred bodies of the Godhra victims were brought to Ahmedabad, when there was no need to. And the bodies of the victims were not handed over to the next of kin, as is the practice, but to BJP leaders. The idea, apparently, was to arouse anger and trouble. Well, it seemed to have worked handsomely. The deliberate burning of the train on February 27 was matched by the riots unleashed on the Muslims in Ahmedabad. An eye for an eye has made the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi pretty blind.
Now, Narendra Modi, in a speech to the FICCI women's wing, wishes to appease the women and ensure that they are worshipped. But not much has been said about the women who were mothers, daughters, wives, or sisters of those killed in the Ahmedabad riots. Those women were a minority. In addition to the typical run-of-the-mill people who have allegedly helped themselves or their friends to national and natural resources like coal, iron ore, real estate and spectrum at cheap prices, there is another breed of the powerful which get to see and review the reports written by the independent agencies like the CBI. They get to rewrite history. Left to their editing and corrections, Nero may have been the victim who was burnt by the Christians in Ancient Rome.
Pakistan has had an election: a new leadership is in place there. The new government has all the challenges that India faces - and they have to deal with the Taliban.
Chines Premier Li came, smiled, and waved - but they still have roads and military personnel on Indian soil.
The IPL games are allegedly fixed. Not sure why that was a surprise - but it is making the headlines. And one article suggests that the government is directing the BCCI to fix things. Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? And guess who dominates the boards of cricket bodies? The politicians from various parties!
Given where we are, given where our neighbouring countries are, and given where the world is, which direction should India head as a country?
Who will declare a vision for its people?
And who will lead the way?
The choices - and quality - of leaders across the political parties is there in front of you.
A society determines its leaders; the leaders in turn determine economic policy. And economic policies will determine the level of stock markets in the long run.
Who would you vote for - and why? It would be great to hear your views.
Suggested allocation in Quantum Mutual Funds (after keeping safe money aside)