Archive for February, 2012

Bring on the IPL!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 February 29th, 2012 Aabhas Sharma

With Indian cricket taking a battering – both on and off the field – from almost all sections of media, fans and experts, the fifth edition of Indian Premier League would definitely be interesting. Will the fans turn up to watch the matches? Will the media interest dwindle? Will the blame for everything wrong with Indian cricket be put on IPL’s shoulders? The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO.

After Lalit Modi’s ouster from all things related to cricket, it was assumed that the cricketing tamasha called IPL would become less flamboyant and the focus will be on the sport more rather than the spectacle. But do we actually believe that will be the case? I don’t think so. The BCCI has made it very clear that they won’t have any “official” night parties, however the teams can organise these parties (how very convenient). After all in IPL cricket is serious business, isn’t it?

On the face of it, as far as the IPL is concerned things do seem to be a bit dull till now. The player auction wasn’t a hyped affair as it has been in the past. Although I still find it hard to believe someone actually paid that much money for Ravindra Jadeja! The promotions from teams and various sponsors have been muted so far. Marketers and advertisers aren’t too gung-ho about anything cricket these days, so it is kind of expected. The TV ratings have fallen sharply, companies have been reconsidering cricketers as their brand ambassadors and this doesn’t seem the right time to be talking about the IPL.

But for me, this all seems to be a lull before the actual storm hits our TV screens. The IPL will be what it has always been – a money making spectacle. Already there are plans to have celebrities bowl a “super over”. So you might have the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and other big names to be a part of the IPL in some form or the other. We can expect Shahrukh Khan to go all the way to ensure that he is on our screens every hour when the IPL is on. Vijay Mallya too might get some respite from the mess his airlines has landed into – at least temporarily. Bollywood actresses will become die-hard cricket fans and will be seen cheering many franchisees.

The fans might be disillusioned right now with the fortunes of the cricket team but their memories are more or less short. The serious ones will stay away from IPL saying “this is not cricket” while others will treat it for what it actually is – a time pass. It won’t matter too much who actually wins or loses as long as they are guaranteed some entertainment which they will certainly find.

So if you were thinking that perhaps the last few disastrous months Indian cricket has been through might have some adverse effect on the IPL tamasha, then I am afraid you were hoping were too much. Like it or not, the IPL is here to stay.

Normalcy management: Are there any tests for it?

Monday, February 27th, 2012 February 27th, 2012 Jyoti MukulJyoti Mukul

In many qualifying exams and even in organisations, a worst case scenario or the most problematic situation is always the normal thing for testing a rookie. Even if worth of an individual lies in how best he can handle a crisis, there is a strong case for normalcy management. Take the case of journalism, writing a good routine copy for a reporter is a real challenge than doing a follow-up of a news report missed to other newspapers. Or for that matter, driving safely on a clear road where the speed limit can cross 100 kmph easily is probably tougher than moving at a snail pace in a jam.

Could it be that the false sense of measuring an individual’s competence in dealing with crisis stems from the pessimistic approach towards work? Is this the reason that many heads of organisations would like to keep their subordinates always in a crisis situation? Does this brings out the best in them or puts a jammer on creativity.

Recently on a test for a driving licence, I realised that over 50 cars were lined up in a place that could well have been a dumping ground for carcasses. Besides mud and pot holes, there were stones and humps and a dusty wind over which no one had any control. Amateur drivers had to slowly move in a round queue on a rocky surface and then proceed to make an eight around two circles created close to each other under a watchful eye of an inspector. There was nothing wrong with the test, except for the track itself and the examiners. All the candidates were like one herd of animals being barked upon by the inspectors. Some like me were spared rude language on gender consideration, perhaps. The more down the social ladder you appeared, the ruder the behaviour was.

It wasn’t after all just a driving licence test. It was about a worst case scenario on the Indian roads. Anybody coming out of it obviously will be inspired to treat everything in a similar fashion, if not always, at least for few days. This was in Gurgaon, but most cities in the country probably to do just the same.

So, while one came out with a sense of fulfilment at having cleared the test after flunking it once, happiness was missing.
It only meant coming out of a crisis with a reasonable amount of success. It brings out a thought that while managing a crisis may be very important for the event itself but dealing with normalcy is the bread and butter. Perhaps, many may not agree but certainly there is a dearth of people who can manage a normal situation in the best possible way.

The telecom tangle

Saturday, February 25th, 2012 February 25th, 2012 Tarun Chaturvedi

“Sorry you seem to have dialled a wrong number”; “Please check the number you have dialled”; “The dialled number does not exist” ……… and the list goes on and on.

For long, subscribers to cellular services in India have got used to hearing such automated messages the moment they make an error in dialling the number. The service provider took great pains to make it known to the subscriber that he has dialled a wrong number. But now it seems a large number of service providers have themselves dialled a wrong number. Surely for foreign telecom majors such as Telenor, Etisalat, Sistema etc., India has been a wrong number and they have already announced exit plans.

The above is a direct consequence of the judgement and is surely not the only consequence. The collateral consequences will now start and the dangerous ramifications of the judgement will be felt by a large number of sectors including but not limited to consumers, corporate, banks, telecom equipment vendors etc.

The least affected will be the large number of consumers who were availing services from providers whose license has been cancelled. According to industry estimates such consumers would total around 50 million. With number portability the woes of such consumers would be greatly reduced.

The worst fallout of the decision is the dent in investor confidence when it comes to the foreign players. In the aftermath, there is no doubt that the foreign investor will now think twice before entering a regulated sector in India. The foreign players have a valid argument – they argue that the apex court has passed the decision of cancelling the licenses whilst the corruption case is still to be decided (read A Raja and the CBI case). If the corruption case, as made out by the government, fails (going by the past rate of success in getting convictions for the politicians in corruption cases, failing is more likely), will the apex court reverse its decision of cancelling the licenses. Further, they argue that even if the licenses were issued by causing a loss of exchequer, the court could have asked the existing players to make good such notional loss. Cancellation of the licenses has created total confusion in the industry. No body is clear as to what will happen to the gains which have already accrued to the India players in the course of selling the licenses to the foreign players. The Damocles sword is still hanging over the equipment vendors and banks that have exposures to this industry. It is fast appearing that the practical roll out of the decision is beset with problems.

There is every possibility that at the end of the day we may feel that the hon’ble lordhips at the apex court in their quest to deliver solutions to a issue problem have created more problems than they have managed to resolve.

Shoot the right messenger

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 February 22nd, 2012 Sundaresha Subramanian

“I am having butterflies in my stomach,” said a TV reporter standing before a court in the capital last Saturday. “I am sure even Chidambaram is having butterflies in his,” she went on trying to create the colourful insects in every viewer’s abdomen, giving her star anchor some breathing space. The anchor started booming, “My sources say the judge has not entered the chambers yet. It has been 40 minutes. Why has the judge not come in yet? The nation is waiting.”

The nation can’t wait. It wants to know everything before the next ad break.

And, if the nation wants to know, no office is too high, no secret too sensitive, no one too big. Arab Spring and Anna Hazare have made such jingoism fashionable. Having trained guns at politicians and bureaucracy, National TV is now taking on the third pillar of democracy—the judiciary, more frequently. Even as the judge was taking his time, the anchor was filling airtime vociferously. “Why are we not allowed inside the courtroom? How can the public be kept out in an open court system?”

Can judiciary handle such manufactured pressure? Obviously, it is feeling it and is not too pleased. The displeasure came out in another unrelated case.Two weeks ago, senior judges of Supreme Court took strong exception when an appellant (Sahara group) complained of media interference. After reprimanding the respondent (Sebi), who claimed innocence, for having leaked
crucial details, the bench ordered the appellant to make a written submission. A decision is expected in early March.
It is still not clear exactly what was published in the business channel and how it affected the client’s case. But, the decision is likely to have far reaching ramifications for reporting and commentary on sub-judice court cases.

And, the vanity and jingoism described above is likely to be given a fair consideration in arriving at the decision. In my opinion, the courts should come down heavily on one-sided commentary that passes off as reporting. In an ideal world, news organisations would have enough checks and balances to filter such prejudice. Since our world is still getting there, it is better to have clear rules.

Protectors of free press may be up in arms. They must understand it is not a yes or no question anymore, but demands a nuanced answer. Like in a football field, setting ground rules and penalising violations do not mean a curbing the game. In fact, the game gets better and more watchable with these rules.

But, it is important for the courts to recognize the difference between rape and sex. In its dislike for the former, it should not end up killing the latter. The courts need not look very far. Only a few days ago, some journalists caught some lawmakers watching sex clips in the floor of the legislative assembly. One of them claimed they were watching with sympathy a video that showed a foreigner being gangraped. I am not saying more. The matter is sub-judice.

Disclosure: This writer has reported extensively on a number of sub-judice cases, without prejudice to his stomach or the butterflies that occasionally surface in it.

Bothersome buzz

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 February 21st, 2012 Veenu Sandhu

Some days back I had a blast from the past. And it did not bring with it any sense of nostalgia. Only horror. The phone beeped to say that I had a message. As I unsuspectingly entered the inbox, this is what jumped out at me:

“Ultimate hair loss treatment. Organic hair oils wid (sic) magnetic formula for baldness, dandruff, hair loss, insomnia. Instant results guaranteed.”

In one grammatically-challenged sentence, the bliss of the last few months was shattered. I had quite forgotten about telemarketing SMSes and their nuisance value. Since September 2011, when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) enforced strict regulations on unsolicited telemarketing calls and SMSes, such calls and messages had practically disappeared. The order had brought instant relief to over 85 crore mobile subscribers across the country. It was wonderful.

In hindsight, I should have known that it was only a matter of time before the enterprising Indians with their repertoire of hair oils that can spring a fertile jungle on a bald patch, magnetic earrings that can make you lose 20 kilograms in a month or quick courses that can make you a better orator than Obama found a way around these regulations. Trust the Indian jugaad to open new gateways.

The earliest warning that the telemarketers weren’t about to throw in the towel yet came in the form on an SMS from a number prefixed with a code that clearly wasn’t from anywhere in India. Of course! They were transmitting the messages via an SMS gateway from UK to skirt the regulation. All they had to do was send an email through a particular email address and have it arrive as a text message on someone’s phone. It was so foolishly simple to use this mail-to-SMS gateway service – number@SMS-gateway. Our determined telemarketing companies made the most of it.

And now, even this front has been dropped. Having tested the waters and having emerged unscathed, the telemarketers are almost back to the frantic pace they maintained before they were abruptly brought to a halt by spoilsport Trai. In a span of 24 hours, I have received about nine SMSes about dream houses at dream locations. Here’s a sample:

“Gurgaon property ¾ BHK with 7 acre park.”

“Dream houses at Noida near proposed metro. Construction in full swing.”

“Farmhouse with cricket stadium, swimming pool and government electric Phase II launch.” (Duh!)

“Luxury apartments from co-developers of an xyz mall in Delhi.”

“Property bhi aapki, rent bhi aapka.” (Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?)

As expected, real estate agents/promoters are taking the lead, yet again, in bombarding one and all with their “do-not-miss-this-opportunity” claims. But they aren’t the only ones. Along with the property SMSes, these are some others which I have had to suffer in a day.

“Scared of Facing d Public? Public Speaking, Prsntation Skills. Cours startng in Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon.”

“Reduce fat up to 5 kg pm (100% result). Ayurvedic product or money back. Gurantee no excise [they obviously mean exercise] no side efeect (sic).”

“Free workshop on Image Management and Body Shape Analysis”

About two years ago, in August 2010, an unsolicited telemarketing call to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had sent the then telecom minister, A Raja, swinging into action to put a lid on such an invasion. The minister was in a crucial meeting with political leaders to resolve the standoff over the price rise debate in Parliament when he got a call from a finance company offering him a home loan. A visibly angry Mukherjee said, “No, no, not now. I am in a meeting” and then cut the call. He then told the curious gathering that he received about four or five such calls every day.

About a year after that fateful call, Trai issued the regulations and the telemarketers went into their shell. There they sat, biding their time, waiting for things to cool down. And now they are back. I wish one of them would call Mukherjee again. The timing is perfect. Budget is round the corner and he’s bound to be as busy as can be. One home loan or property sale phone call will be enough to ignite his famous temper. And peace will prevail once more.

Attack of doubt

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 February 15th, 2012 Rrishi Raote

Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon, says Israel. Because Israel is currently making so much noise about this, newspaper writers are wondering whether Israel is about to attack Iran.

Robert Fisk of the UK Independent, who has reported from West Asia for many years and has seen it all — more than once — has reminded readers that Israeli leaders have been saying the same thing about Iran’s nuclear programme since 1992.

Israel has attacked suspected nuclear facilities in nearby countries at least twice before: once in 1981 when it bombed a reactor in Iraq, and once again in 2007 in Syria.

This round of Israel’s anti-Iran campaign seems already to have begun — and not just via PR. At least three Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated recently by car bombs said to be very like the one that wounded the Israeli defence attache’s wife in Delhi on Monday. The Western media take it pretty much for granted that these killings were the work of Israel’s intelligence agency, called Mossad.

If this is so, it is possible that the Delhi attack might be part of Iran’s retaliation. (Though how silly of Iran to do anything to annoy one of its few big-country friends.) This is what the Israeli government was very quick to say on Monday, that Iran did this, even before any firm information was available about the attack itself. It has stuck to this line.

Two hectic days later, the news is still not exactly firm. Who knows what the intelligence agencies have learned, but as far as the news media are concerned the facts appear to be slippery.

Was there a motorcyclist after all, who drove past and stuck the bomb to the back of the embassy car? One eyewitness, driving behind, says he saw him and that his bike was red, and that he wore a helmet. But this biker is nowhere to be seen, say most of today’s papers, in the footage from 30, or 16, or 18 (variously reported) CCTVs in the area. The footage shows the embassy car, for sure, but no bike or biker.

One paper reports that “enhanced” video from a camera outside a local billionaire’s home has caught the man and that he wore a backpack. Intriguingly the same report suggests that high-resolution satellite imagery of that moment shows (I’m not making this up) that the bike was a Bajaj Pulsar.

The Israeli woman who was injured says she turned around and saw a motorcyclist actually throw something at her car, which then exploded.

The police commissioner says the biker either bumped into or pushed aside the red plastic bollards that divide the lanes, and sped away in a different direction, and that he must have been well trained. The police also say that the biker’s licence plate was “blank”.

However, two men in the car directly behind the embassy car at the traffic light, who were themselves lightly injured in the blast, say they saw no motorcyclist anywhere around.

Mysterious!

Then, the embassy car’s driver says that after the blast he opened the rear door and pulled out his employer’s wife, and that there were no bystanders around. He cajoled an autowala to take them back to the embassy gate. However, early photos of the event by a passing journalist (here and here), and Twitter posts by him, suggest that the Israeli woman was flung a good distance from the car, where she was in fact helped up by bystanders — he has photographs. Another paper reports that both driver and woman were pulled from the car by bystanders.

These are just the most obvious questions, to a newspaper reader. There are lesser ones, such as how long the embassy car spent in Khan Market while the victim and her husband were lunching. Was it half an hour, as the driver says, or one hour, as the police version goes? I don’t mean to question the official version of events, such as it is, only to point out how diverse are the reports on such crucial issues as what happened immediately before and immediately after the blast, that eyewitnesses accounts are a curious mix of reliable and unreliable, and that even technology is at most a mixed blessing in the search for answers.

Answers, not truth, because Israel was so quick to identify the source of the hit as Iran. It is the answer that suits Israel right now. It may well be the right answer, but what if it isn’t?

The Day

Monday, February 13th, 2012 February 13th, 2012 Praveen Bose

The flower shop next door has been running a countdown to April 14, yes the St. Valentine’s Day. Today, February 13, was ‘Kiss Day’ (i am hearing it for the first time) and yesterday was the ‘Hug Day’!!!

With the interpretation of the heart’s shape of different sizes all over the entrance to the shop, the proprietor is attempting to make the best of the event.

But, here’s the rub. The price of rose is sky high here. After all it’s in the so-called CBD area and one of the costliest areas in the country. But, the landlord has a history of trying to make the best of the ’situations’. He had ensured that a restaurant shut down so that he could get another tenant ready to pay much more. This, when he realised that the restaurant ran well and his demands for much higher rents went unheeded.
If our flower shop man is seen to have done a good job, perhaps his time is also up. The landlord, as many landlords are, is not known to think logically. If the guy has a good business for that one day, he may be asked to share the spoils. Now he can be sure of being asked to pay more.

Perhaps in a few days, I may get to see the announcement of a “I am shutting shop” Day outside the flower shop. That’s the reality of the unorganised retail sector nowadays, mostly.

The great V-Day tamasha

Monday, February 13th, 2012 February 13th, 2012 Shibangi DasShibangi Das

I first became familiar with the whole idea of Saint Valentine’s Day while reading Archie comics as a child. And within no time of greeting card companies making an entrance in India did we have a new set of days to mark on our calendars - Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Rose Day - and if I were to believe some of the trending topics on Twitter, Proposal Day, Teddy Day and Promise Day!

Corporations and businesses are beyond rejoicing the sudden burst of love in the air. Added to the agony of having your eyes blinded by too much exposure to reds and pinks everywhere, you also see a sudden flood of V-Day offers. As if fine jewellery, dining, flowers, chocolates and stuffed toys holding red hearts were not enough to profess one’s love, now gyms offer discount on couple memberships, spas and resorts offer discounts for couples and beauty salons have special packages that allow you to prettify yourself (whether to look pretty for your existing Valentine or to attract a new one, that’s left to you).

Mobile phone operators have special discounts for calls to be made to specific numbers during the Valentine’s week, Couples get bigger discounts at retail outlets, and, I may not be quite off the mark if I say builders and developers also have tricks up their sleeves to dish out a special treat for their buyers on V-Day.

There are also special V-Day movie releases that make our candy-floss brand of filmmakers the most sought-after celebrities to be interviewed in every form of media. While I do love love stories, the idea of a movie made specially for the occasion for one to hold hands with their Valentine seems a little too much. Policy makers worldwide, not to be left behind, are also spreading their share of love and have set #FedValentines trending. Of course, the double entendre in Fed chief Bernanke’s constant talk of stimulus to ease economy is just too hard to resist.

On the other hand, preservers of our sacred Indian culture are balking at the whole thingamajig. In the three years since the Pink Chaddi Campaign, instances of violent protests against public displays of coupledom on V-Day may have gone down, but the attempts to curb the “immoral foreign influences” from “soiling Indian culture” still exist. Right-wing activists and supporters see red (pun intended) and stay in the news for their agitated comments against the whole concept of V-Day. The Chhattisgarh government seems to be trying to adopt the middle ground by renaming February 14 as Parents’ Day. I cannot help but be reminded of a certain Bollywood blockbuster whose tagline said “It’s all about loving you parents.”

On the personal front, I was trying to buy a cosmetic item yesterday. I couldn’t decide between two different brands that seemed equally good. To help me make up my mind, one of the sales ladies helpfully pitched, “Mam, if you buy our brand, you get a box of two decorative candles free. It’s a special Valentines Day treat”, and held up a tacky packet of two rose-shaped candles. That was not incentive enough for me to pick the brand and I said so to the lady behind the counter. She seemed amused and asked me if I believed in the concept of Valentines Day. I said I did till everyone decided to try and make money or gain publicity out of it.

Needless to say, she looked at me like I were the Mr. Scrooge of Valentines Day and decided to treat me like a customer who did not warrant even a smile because of her apparent anti-Valentine sentiments. I bought the brand she was selling anyway.

Sigh! So much for love.

Mind games

Friday, February 10th, 2012 February 10th, 2012 J Jagannath

Picture this: you’re on your way to a movie and you lost some money. There are high chances that you’ll still buy the ticket thinking of it as a minor dent in your decent-by-any-standards back account. However, if you lose the ticket you might think of it as double the charge and you might very well skip the movie. Both the situations look similar but they are not. According to his dazzling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, a 2002 Noble laureate in Economics, your brain’s ‘System 2’ was at work in the former situation while ‘System 1’ was activated in the latter one.

System 1 is what stimulates our intuitions and our basic thinking automatically. While System 2 prods us to go beneath the surface and demands concentration. Aided by stupendous examples, Kahneman sets out to explain his hypothesis in an engaging manner. Sample this: “tired and hungry judges tend to fall back on the easier default position of denying requests for parole”. That begs the obvious question: If we know very well that System 2 is what drives the all-important decisions, why do we rely on the unreliable System 1? The answer is that System 2 is lazy. We don’t usually prefer to burn our grey cells when System 1 has something to offer to us readily.

Divided into five parts with the two Systems as the recurring theme Thinking, Fast and Slow can easily be titled as Psychoanalysis For Dummies. There’s absolutely no human tic that Kahneman leaves out in this 500-page monument for human brain. Here are a few names that he invented to describe the cognitive illusions a human is usually prone to: “illusion of validity,” “availability bias,” “endowment effect,” “anchoring” among many others. Illusion of validity means that what we perceive as a skill that we excel in is actually not very useful. Kahneman posits that at the heart of it a stock broker and a dart-throwing chimp have nothing much to distinguish. Availability bias alludes to the basic human tendency to evaluate a situation on the basis of past knowledge, which will be exaggerated. Traveling by train because there have been a couple of air crashes in the recent past is an example.

Endowment effect can be used to define situations where we attach higher significance/cost to things that we own than when they are owned by someone else. A common example is of selling stocks that are trading higher than the ones in the red. After all, losses loom larger than gains. Anchoring can be best explained through the following example, “If you consider how much you should pay for a house, you will be influenced by the asking price. The same house will appear more valuable if its listing price is high than if it is low.” Kahneman coins an abbreviation WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is) for our Pavlovian reflex of focusing on existing evidence and ignoring absent evidence.

Will these terms help us curb our natural instincts is debatable but at least Kahneman, a Princeton University professor, makes sure that we have something to address retrospectively and probably avoid in the future. Thinking, Fast and Slow might resemble Malcolm Galdwell’s Blink, a book on intuition, but Kahneman combines his superb knowledge of behavioural economics and psychoanalysis to produce something monstrously original. It’s almost like watching David Lynch’s Mullholand Drive where your intellectual toolkit is reduced to nothing in no time. The reader is bound to have lot of gotcha moments. Here’s one, “The odds that “the odds of survival one month after surgery are 90%” is more reassuring than the equivalent statement that “mortality within one month of surgery is 10%.””

The chapter on “base rate concept” according to which we presume a lot of things without ever delving deeper into the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, is the book’s major triumph. The book is a strong recommendation just for the way it exposes all the latent flaws within a human. When we witness an accident but someone else is already helping the victim we feel relieved of responsibility and get on with our usual work.

If there’s a problem with the book it has to be the glaring omission of the name of Sigmund Freud. In the 32 pages of endnotes, there’s not a single reference to the man deemed to be a one-man industry in the field of psychology in the first half of twentieth century. Freud may be regarded as a quack for his Oedipus Complex findings, which an experimental scientist like Kahneman will readily dispel as hallucinations. Still, Kahneman should have given Freud’s fancy theories a patina of respect. Apart from that, Thinking, Fast and Slow is an astonishingly brilliant book.

Why this madness now, Mr Sinha?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 February 8th, 2012 Vishwas

Election fever seems to have caught up with former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, as it usually does with most politicians, prompting them to render high-decibel rants about their achievements and / or equally cacophonous and jarring criticisms of their rivals.

In Sinha’s case, it is the second weapon, so to speak that he has employed to attack on telecom minister Kapil Sibal in the Economic Times.

Here is a recap: The senior BJP leader is taking a dig at Sibal for asking his party to apologise for having wrongly accused ‘Mr Clean’ aka P Chidambaram of being directly involved in the 2G scam. Many will agree that the demand by ‘Kaabil’ Sibal is ridiculous and needs to be dealt with contempt. The BJP veteran takes a dig at ‘Kaabil’ Sibal by delivering a sarcasm-laden apology for all the wrongs of the Congress in the past 65 years, and for that ails the country since Independence.

On the surface, the former finance minister is responding to Sibal’s preposterous demand. But anyone with average intelligence will tell you that there is more to it than meets the eye. Like a shrewd politician, he has got the timing of this article right. It is election time and Uttar Pradesh, the politically most important state in the country, is going to the polls. In one single article, the BJP has attacked the entire Congress in general and ‘Kaabil’ Sibal in particular, in an apparent attempt to dilute the party’s voter loyalty.

After having completed his tirade against the Congress and the telecom minister, the infinitely wise BJP leader moves on to deliver lessons in judiciary to Justice O.P. Saini who rejected Janata Party’s chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea against Mr Clean. Then, he starts dwelling on parliamentary democracy and accountability of ministers. Ugh!

There is no problem with the essence of the article. Every word written, every allegation made and every suggestion put forward make sense. But Sinha has conveniently ignored a few laurels his own party earned during the six-year rule. For example, while talking about corruption, he does not feel the need to hang his head in shame and admit that his ex-party president Bangaru Laxman had made a mistake by accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in 2001. And UTI scam, Mr Sinha? How did the UTI’s capital get reduced to Rs 50,000 crore from Rs 75,000 crore while you were the Finance Minister during the NDA rule? Sure you wouldn’t want us to go there, would you?

If he had admitted some of his party’s mistakes in the write-up, the credibility of the article would have increased manifold. But he did not have the grace to do that. Hence, one cannot help but doubt the motive of the BJP leader and his party in publishing the article with their eyes on votes, and only on votes.