Monday, December 17, 2007

Ballia by-Election on 29th December

Bye-elections in Bhojpuri belt

Ballia MP Chandrashekhar died after a prolonged illness

Bikramganj MP Ajit Singh died in a road accident

The by-election to the Ballia Lok Sabha seat was necessitated following the death of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar. Samajwadi Party nominee and former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar's son Neeraj Singh has also filed his nomination papers.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee Vinay Shankar Tewari filed his nomination papers for the by-election to the Ballia Lok Sabha constituency scheduled to be held on December 29. Tewari, son of former Uttar Pradesh Minister Hari Shankar Tewari, joined BSP recently.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate Virendra Singh has already filed his nomination papers.

Twenty-one nominations have been filed for the bye-election for Ballia Lok Sabha seat in the eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Those who filed their papers include Vishwamitra of Indian Justice Party, Bhim Raj from Rastriya Lok Dal, Tej Narain (Independent), Girishram from Lok Jan Shakti Party.y

Counting of votes for both Ballia and Bikramganj would take place on January 2, 2008.

P.S: Chandrashekhar, was born in Ibrahimpatti in 1927. He was an active member of the Socialist Party. Chandrashekhar was a prominent leader of socialists. He joined Congress in 1964. From 1962 to 1967, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He entered the Lok Sabha in 1977. As a member of the Congress Party, he vehemently criticised Indira Gandhi for her activities. This led to a split in the congress in 1975. Chandrashekhar was arrested during the emergency
and sent to prison.

After the emergency, he became the President of Janata Party. In the parliamentary elections, Janata Party did very well and formed the coalition government headed by late Morarji Desai. In 1988, his party merged with other parties and formed the government under die leadership of VP. Singh. Again his relationship with the coalition deteriorated and he formed another party, Janata Dal socialist faction.
With the support of Congress (I) headed by Rajiv Gandhi, he replaced VP.Singh and became the 11th Prime Minister of India in November 1990. His four-month-old government ended on March 6, 1991, from the floor of the Indian parliament as the Congress under Rajiv Gandhi withdrew support which led to his resignation as the Congress party accused Chandrashekhar of spying on Rajiv Singh. The party boycotted parliament and as Chandrashekhar`s government only had about 60 MPs, he resigned in a nationally televised address. He remained the caretaker Prime Minister. After Chandrasekhar's resignation, no one came forward to form a coalition government and the President dissolved Parliament and elections for the 10th parliament were announced for June 1991. Chandrasekhar remained as the caretaker Prime Minister.
His government lasted for 7 months.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at an election rally at Sriperumbudur near Tamil Nadu capital Chennai.

Chandrasekhar government handed over the investigation of the murder to the CBI on May 24 and it constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under D R Karthikeyan, who had earlier been in Sri Lanka during the time of the Indian Peacekeeping Forces. Unfortunately, Chandrasekhar's government failed to disclose whether there were any special reasons for them to appoint Karthikeyan to lead the SIT, who was by that time a sworn enemy of the LTTE.

Meanwhile, nine days after the assassination, on May 31, the Intelligence Bureau reviewed various scenarios and possibilities. According to its review, there had been 13 instances of bomb blasts in Tamil Nadu between 1986 and 1991. It became clear, according to the review, that Sri Lankan militants, including the LTTE and the Tamil Nadu Liberation Army, took recourse to explosives to achieve their ends.

According to the IB's review, Rajiv Gandhi's murder was narrowed down to two possibilities - it was executed either by Sikh militants or the LTTE. But the government found that Sikh involvement in a murder in Tamil Nadu was unlikely, leaving the LTTE as the prime suspect.

Gandhi had disapproved of the Chandrasekhar government's refuelling facilities given to US war planes that were heading for the Gulf during the first war against Iraq.

Vikramganj by Election on 29th December

Does anyone need to know as to why Kanti Singh left Vikramganj constituency without fulfilling her obligations towards the voters who elected her. She is now a MP from Arrah constituency.

Meena Devi, wife of former Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] MP Ajit Kumar Singh will be the party's candidate for the December 29 by-election to Bikramganj Lok Sabha seat, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The by-election has been necessitated by the mysterious death of Singh, also chairman of NAFED, in an accident.

Bye elections for Ballia Lo Sabha seat will also take place on the same day.

Predicting the victory of Meena Devi by a comfortable margin, Kumar said that she was elected party's candidate on the recommendation of the local unit and JD(U) MLA from the constituency. People will vote for Meena Devi as her husband was a popular figure in the area and many steps initiated by the government in the past two years for the development of the state, Kumar said at the "janata durbar".

The RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has put up Ashok Kumar Kushwaha, belonging to the Kushwaha community, which has been fuming at Kumar after the expulsion of its leader Upendra Kushwaha from the JD(U).

It appears to be a contest between JD(U) and RJD. Candidates of the CPI-ML and the BSP are among the 12 in the fray.

Given the fact that Vikramganj is the former constituency of Kanti Singh. It would be revealing to note what Manushi wrote about her in Sept. 1996

Once upon a time Kanti Singh was the Minister of State in the Human Resources Development Ministry, called a meeting a few days after she got the job. Officials prepared themselves well, expecting that they would have to brief the first-time Minister from scratch. They needn't have bothered. The Minister sat through the meeting and asked a few questions. But every time she would say something, her eyes would swivel to Mr Kanti Singh, who sat beside her for the entire 75 minutes.

His manner was unintrusive, but the message was clear: in this ministry, it was the Ministers husband who wore the pants. But not just her husband. The few weeks that she was Minister apparently qualified her for a promotion.

From Human Resources Development, she was shifted to the far more powerful Coal Ministry. Yeh sab Lalooji ke chalte hua hai, she told reporters. That a housewife like Kanti Singh with hardly any experience of politics could rise to such a powerful office was testimony to the United Fronts commitment to the empowerment of women, say partymen. But in many ways, Kanti Singhs rise and rise is a metaphor for all that was wrong with the United Front(UF).

Those who were involved in the anti-Emergency movement in Bihar in the mid 70s say they never saw Kanti Singh on the scene, but we have to take Laloo Yadavs word for it that Singh came into politics at that time. Keshaw Prasad Singh, Kanti's husband, was an over seer with the Bihar Public Works Department in the 70s.

No one remembers Kanti as displaying any extraordinary talent for mobilisation, leadership or politics. But Laloo Yadav must have detected some spark. For in 1992, he thought she was politically mature enough to be appointed party General Secretary. Amid unspoken hostility, Kanti Singh was given charge and was later made to contest the assembly election.

In 1996, Laloo felt she could become a member of Parliament (MP). She was given the Vikramganj seat in west Bihar to contest from. Laloo not only went to Vikramganj himself to campaign for his protege, but also ordered four or five ministers in the state government to work for her. She had a formidable opponent Vashist Narayan Singh, a senior Samata Party candidate who had been close to Laloo at one time.

Though the election is under dispute, she won by a margin of 800-odd votes. Her name was recommended for a ministership and when Laloo felt she hadn't got her due, she was given a better ministry.

No one would have objected if Kanti Singh had been competent and talented and Laloo had tried to further her career. But when he was asked why H.D. Deve Gowda had appointed Kanti, he said: Because we needed a woman in the government. A mystified Maneka Gandhi asked the same question. Not only was she expelled from the party, but the party's womens wing pilloried her for it.

Laloo Yadav can be excused for defending Kanti. He needs reliable right-hand men and women in Delhi and the Coal Ministry has a direct bearing on politics (and finance) in Bihar. The UF was a hostage to then Bihar Chief Minister. So competence had to be defined by the yardstick Yadav set.

The net result was, India had a woman Minister of State for coal, but the decisions were all taken in consultation with : Laloo Yadav and Mr Kanti Singh. Those who can see things going wrong keep quiet. After all, wasn't Kanti Singh the embodiment of woman power? asked Manushi.

Kanti Singh was born in Pachhahar, village of Rohtas district. From 23 May 2004 to 28 Jan. 2006, she was Union Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Currently, she is the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in the Dr Manmohan Singh government under Rashtriya Janata Dal quota.

In February 2005 Bihar Assembly elections, Narendra Kumar Pandey alias Sunil Pandey of JDU won from Piro in Bhojpur district defeating Keshaw Prasad Singh, husband of Kanti Singh by over 35,000 votes.

Kanti Singh represented Vikramganj in 1996 and 1999 by defeating Vashishta Narayan Singh of JD(U).

P.S: Manushi should have also informed its readers as to whether Maneka Gandhi is the embodiment of woman power? What is her status in Bhartiya Janata Party?