Arun Nehru


Arun Nehru
Chairman, Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd

Catchment of cash

The seizures of cash by the Election Commission in four of the five poll-bound states may have tapered off. But money power in the Assembly elections is quite evident. The EC’s election expenditure monitoring cell had seized over Rs 42 crore in unaccounted cash in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur till January 18. In Uttar Pradesh alone the seizure was to the tune of Rs 29.65 crore, while Punjab accounted for Rs 12.11 crore.

Can pink elephants save Maya’s raj?

As the New Year unfolds, high-profile Assembly elections are claiming our attention. Last week, the Election Commission stole all the headlines when it ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to cover up chief minister Mayawati’s statues and those of her party symbol — the elephant — erected in parks and memorials in the state.

In Uttar Pradesh, party abhi baaki hai

The Lokpal issue continues to fester even in the new year. Since the proceedings in the upper House on December 29 have been seen live on TV across the country there is little need for argument for any side of the benches. There are few things which can be seen in black and white in politics, but 24x7 television can on occasion give a very different slant to a very complex issue.

Corruption will wound politicians

I wrote last week about Team Anna and their foray into the political arena and the fact that Anna Hazare was taking for granted the huge public support on the issue of corruption.

Democracy and the Anna manifesto

Are we fed up with democracy? The UPA-2 has ended its extended mid-term vacation and it’s good to see that the Congress has a high command that asserts itself. A combative Sonia Gandhi took the initiative on the Lokpal issue and led from the front. That is the right thing to do for the Congress president.

How not to play people’s politics

The issue of Lokpal has once again taken centrestage. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting with UPA allies on Wednesday was a success but the all-party meeting yielded little on the three contentious aspects of the Lokpal Bill — the inclusion of the Prime Minister, the lower bureaucracy and a citizens’ charter in the proposed anti-graft law. This is to be expected in the initial stages. Even if consensus is not reached with the entire Opposition, possibly there will be agreement with some of the parties. The fiasco for the government we saw on the FDI issue is avoidable.

Don’t just talk to the hand

Timing is of essence in politics. One ill-timed move and all past efforts and reputation can come undone. Look at what happened to the Prime Minister’s announcement to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail.

Where are the magic solutions?

There is no dearth of issues to be resolved as the New Year approaches. In addition to inflation, the Lokpal Bill, black money stashed in Swiss banks and the usual issue of vote-bank politics, we now have the issue of FDI in retail. The

Election eye

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, will demand public attention for the next few months as the battle seems set for the 2012 Assembly elections. This may well be the decisive battle as it will peep into the trends for the 2014 general elections too. At this stage, it is difficult to foretell which party will get a majority.

Has Maya got the mojo for majority?

Every year on October 31 we pay homage to Indira Gandhi. However, with time the intensity associated with the observance weakens; power game of the present era leaves very little time for absorbing the lessons of the past. Indira Gandhi was the last “mass leader” who could generate a national wave. After a humiliating defeat in 1977, she stormed back to power in 1980, and in 1985 her tragic death generated a political tsunami in her memory, which gave a record 409 seats to the Congress in the Lok Sabha in 1985. But as coalition governments replace the traditional one-party majority scenario, the era of supreme leaders who can win an election on their own is over.

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