Naughty Tweet, Here Is How Sushma Replied

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s reply to a naughty tweet has become viral in social media.

Delhi: Sushma Swaraj is one who replies to a tweet in her style and people wonder how she is able to respond for all the tweets she receives. Here is another example of Sushma who gave a fitting reply to a tweet made by a naughty man.

He wrote on Twitter that he was stuck up on Mars from past 987 days and about to exhaust food. He also said that last snack he had was via Mangalyan, and questioned Government when will the next Mangalyan be sent to Mars and tagged ISRO in the last.

Sushma, in her style, replied that Indian Embassy is there and it would help him even if he was stuck in Mars.

Sushma is praised by netizens for her humour and spontaneity.

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Sushma Warns Pakistan: Hands Off Kulbhushan Jadhav

Indian Parliament unanimously condemned the Pakistan Government for awarding death penalty to an Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav who was a Navy officer. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj warned Pakistan not to go ahead with the sentence

New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, gave a strong warning against going ahead with the death penalty awarded to  former Indian Navy employee Kulbhushan Jadhav. Sushma Swaraj has made a forceful statement condemning the attitude of the Pakistan Government which has been refusing to give Indian Counsel access to Jadhav despite repeated requests by the Indian Government.

There was a strong criticism of people like former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer, ex-RAW chief Dulat and many others to attend a meeting with Pakistani intellectuals and diplomats in the evening of Tuesday here. There was also a scathing attack on the Government and the Parliament for not passing a resolution condemning the attitude of the Pakistan Government which kidnapped Jadhav 14 months. There was a severe criticism against Union Government for not bothering to raise the issue at international fora like Human Rights Commission and UNO. The NDA Government  had done precious nothing all these months, the Opposition leaders lambasted Modi’s dispensation.

Earlier in the day, there  was a unified voice by Parliamentarians expressing solidarity with the Government and raising voice against the death penalty for Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan Military Court. Mood of the MPs was to stand unitedly and say with all the force at their command, ‘SAVE JADHAV’.

The Pakistani action was condemned by all the  political parties after the Congress gave adjournment notice in Lok Sabha.

“We call it a planned murder, if Jadhav would be sentenced to death,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Floor leader of the Congress party who added that failing to protect Jadhav will prove the weakness of the Government.

AIMIM Chief Asaduddin  Owaisi said Pakistani court is like a banana court where they have given judgement without any trial or evidence.

BJP MP Ananth Kumar said that the whole House  is with Kulbhushan  Jadhav. Shiva Sena MP Manisha Khyande felt that the issue should be placed before the UN.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Indian Government will do whatever possible for Jadhav and assured justice will be done with him.

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Hate Crimes Against NRIs In US Will Be Checked: Sushma

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Indian Government is in constant touch with US regarding the hate crimes which are of the top most priority of the ministry.

Sushma, speaking in Lok Sabha today, said she spoke with the parents of Kuchibhotla Srinivas and Deep Rai and raised these issues with highest authorities in the US.

FBI is investigating these hate crimes and Indian Goverment is in touch with Donal Trump administration over the issue, Sushma said.

Sushma Swaraj read out the letter written by Srinivas wife’s addressing Indian Ambassador saying, “All the help extended to me in time is deeply appreciated”.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader, criticised the Indian government for failing to ensure safety to citizens of India in the US.

“Our Government remained silent when our citizens are getting killed, threatened in the US,” Kharge added.

Reacting to the criticism, Sushma said Indian Government and US President Donald Trump condemned these attacks and promised to take measures to protect Indian

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Kidnapped Andhra doctor rescued from Libyan militants

New Delhi: External Minister Sushma Swaraj today tweeted that AP doctor who was abducted by ISISI militants in Libya was rescued.

Dr. Ramamurthy kosanam, who is from Eluru, is working as a physician in a hospital at Sirte, Libya. He was kidnapped by 15 ISIS militants on Sep8th in 2016.He is  being brought to India according to Government sources.

“We have rescued Dr. Ramamurthy in Libya. Kosanam has suffered a bullet injury.We are bringing him to India shortly. With this, we have rescued all the six Indians abducted there. I appreciate the good work done by our mission there” is the tweet given by External Minister Sushma swaraj.

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Why India can’t win a diplomatic war against Pakistan

Madhusudhana Rao S

smr

Madhusudhana Rao S

General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the sixth President of Pakistan from 1978 to 1988, is remembered for his ruthless rule of his country under martial law he declared in 1977 after a coup in which the civilian government of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was overthrown. The dictator is also remembered for sending the former head of government to gallows in 1979 on charges –widely believed to be fictitious — of attempted murder and religious fanaticism. He died in a plane crash in 1988. The cause of air crash is still a matter of speculation and a topic for conspiracy theories.

What’s relevant today in Indian context was a joke that used to make rounds when Zia was at the peak of his political-military power. The joke goes something like this: Zia had a big farm which he could not run because of his preoccupation with plots to pull down the Bhutto government. So, he gave it to a farmer to cultivate the land on profit-sharing basis. In the first year, the farmer raised potato crop. When the General went to his farm, he saw sacks of potatoes waiting for shipment to market. Zia told the farmer that under the deal whatever was grown below the ground was his and the rest was farmer’s.

Realizing he was cheated, the farmer had decided to change his strategy. The following year, the farmer sowed corn and when the crop was about to be harvested, the General descended on his farm and congratulated the farmer on growing such a wonderful crop. With a flourish, the strong man offered the farmer that he would reverse the previous year’s decision. This time, whatever was grown below the ground was the farmer’s and the yield above was the General’s.

Thinking he lost twice, the farmer decided to beat the General in his own game. This time, he zeroed in on mango crop and planted many trees. After some years, the farmers’ efforts started yielding rich fruits. When they were ripe, Gen Zia came down and exclaimed at the juicy reap. The military ruler told the farmer that he would have what was hanging in the air as part of his share!

The story might be apocryphal. But it mirrors the mindset of the Pak military-civil establishment which tries to hoodwink others to suit its agenda and narrative. The ongoing Indo-Pak war of words gives an insight into lies and half-truths being dished out by the civilian-military establishment. Whatever India does on the diplomatic front to prove Pakistan’s culpability in cross-border terrorism, Islamabad confronts New Delhi with Zia-sque arguments.

Ever since the Uri attack on September 18, 2016, the Indian government has launched an all-out war against Pakistan at the diplomatic level with the sole purpose of isolating the hostile neighbour. Indeed, it’s a climb-down for Narendra Modi who had professed action instead of words in tackling Pakistan before being sworn as the Prime Minister.

Why has he chosen a peace offensive when Pakistan is beating war drums and trying to turn the tables on this country? Analyses differ widely: A war is  fraught with risks and it hits the economic development and the chances are a limited-scale conflict or punitive measures such as surgical strikes on militant camps on the other side of the border could escalate into a bigger conflict with the possibility of China indirectly supporting its ‘all-weather friend’ to decelerate India’s growth. As it is often reported in the media, all options are on the table and it is up to the government to pick the right option at the right time. At the moment, the government has opted for an all-out no-holds barred diplomatic offensive against the Nawaz Sharif government.

From Kashmir to Kerala and at the United National General Assembly, from Prime Minister Modi to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had delivered thundering speeches berating Pakistan, its role in training jihadists and sending them across the border to kill civilians and army men and spawn unrest in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

No doubt, Modi’s rhetoric, his attempt to draw a fine line between the people and the government of Pakistan, reiteration of peaceful co-existence, quotable quotes like “blood and water can’t flow together” (on revision of Indus Water Treaty) were impressive. Equally striking were Sushma Swaraj’s  rebuttals of Pak allegations at the UN. They are all music to Indian ears. But are these ‘exposes’ opened anyone’s eyes on the other side of the border? For that matter, how many countries have publicly condemned Pakistan, despite India showing proof of Pak complicity in Uri and Pathankot attacks?

But for a move in US Congress to label Pakistan ‘a state sponsor of terrorism,’ we have not heard denouncements from anywhere else. What this silent attitude signals is since Indo-Pak problems are bilateral, they have to be resolved by themselves.

But Pakistan attributes the prevailing tensions, including the militant activity, to the Kashmir dispute and tries to internationalize the issue at every given opportunity. India, on the other hand, tries to convince the world leaders how the Pakistani state apparatus has been using Kashmir row as a smokescreen to train terrorists and waging a proxy war against India. The gist of Indian leaders and representatives’ speeches at the current UN session points out to this.

With the two countries firming up their respective positions on almost all contentious issues and Modi promising us some unspecified retributive action against Pakistan, it looks the die is cast. In the proverbial carrot-and-stick policy, Modi hasn’t gotten anything in return from his Pak counterpart for offering carrots. Even after a spike in cross-border terrorist raids and blatant attacks on two army bases this year, Modi is hesitant to wield a stick for obvious reasons. So, he is left with no other option but to tighten the screws on the arch enemy. Among the measures being contemplated is a thorough review of Indus Water Treaty which is said to benefit Pakistan more than India. Next to come up for a relook is the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to that country a decade ago. Incidentally, Pakistan has not reciprocated even after 10 years.

Such steps may look punitive but in reality they will not hurt Pakistan as China and oil-rich Arab nations can shore up Islamabad with liberal economic aid. International isolation of Pakistan is the main target of the Indian Government and Delhi would like to see it declared as a pariah state. Even if we win our diplomatic battle, which is unlikely, the focus should be more on strengthening our internal and border security, intelligence gathering and launching a multi-pronged strategy to bring peace to the troubled Kashmir Valley. Since Pakistan knows how to bleed us, we should not expose our soft belly to it.

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పాక్ ‘టెస్టు’లో మోడీ టీం నెగ్గుతుందా?

(ప్రైమ్ పోస్ట్ బ్యూరో)

న్యూ ఢిల్లీ: భారత్-పాకిస్తాన్ ల మధ్య ఏర్పడిన తాజా ఉద్రిక్తత నేపథ్యంలో సోమవారం నాడు రెండు అంశాలు విశేషంగా చర్చకు వచ్చాయి. మొదటిది, పాక్ తో మనం చేసుకున్న సింధు జలాల ఒప్పందం. రెండోది, యూ. ఎన్. లో విదేశాంగమంత్రి సుష్మా స్వరాజ్ చేసిన ప్రసంగం.

కాశ్మీర్ ఎప్పటికీ భారత్ కు చెందినదే, దాని గురించి పగటి కలలు మానుకోండని సుష్మా స్వరాజ్ పాకిస్తాన్ కు స్పష్టంగా చెప్పారు. పాక్ ఉగ్రవాద చర్యలను ఎత్తి చూపి అంతర్జాతీయంగా ఆ దేశాన్ని ఏకాకిని చేసే ప్రయత్నం దిశగా తన ప్రసంగాన్ని సాగించారు. రెండేళ్లుగా పాక్ తో సామరస్య సంబంధాలను పెంచుకోడానికి ప్రధాని స్థాయిలో ఎన్ని ప్రయత్నాలు చేసినా పాకిస్తాన్ తన ఉగ్రవాద ప్రోత్సాహక చర్యలతో భారత్ వ్యతిరేక విద్వేషాన్ని చాటుకుంటూనే ఉందన్నారు. బెలూచీస్తాన్ లో పాక్ మానవహక్కుల హననాన్ని ప్రస్తావించారు.

18 మంది భారత సైనికులను బలిగొన్న ఉరీ దాడికి భారత్ ఎలా సమాధానం చెబుతుందన్నది జాతీయస్థాయిలో చర్చనీయం అవుతోంది. సైనికంగా జవాబు చెప్పడంతో సహా రకరకాల అవకాశాలు చర్చలోకి వచ్చాయి. యూపీయే ప్రభుత్వానికి భిన్నంగా మోడీ ప్రభుత్వం పాక్ కు దాని పద్ధతిలోనే బుద్ధి చెబుతుందన్న అంచనా సైనిక చర్య అవకాశాన్ని ప్రముఖంగా చర్చకు తెచ్చింది. కొంతమంది మాజీ సైన్యాధికారులు కూడా ఆ అవసరాన్ని నొక్కి చెప్పారు. అయితే, ప్రభుత్వం మాత్రం అంచనాలకు భిన్నంగా నిదానాన్ని పాటించింది. ఉగ్రవాదాన్ని ప్రోత్సహించే దేశంగా పాక్ ను అంతర్జాతీయంగా ఏకాకిని చేసే వ్యూహం వైపు చివరికి భారత్ మొగ్గినట్టు కనిపిస్తోంది. సుష్మా స్వరాజ్ ప్రసంగం ఆ దిశగానే సాగింది.

అయితే, ఈ వ్యూహం కొత్తదేమీ కాదు. అది గొప్ప ఫలితాలను ఇచ్చి పాక్ ను దారికి తెచ్చిన దాఖలా లేదు. కానీ వేరే అవకాశాలు ఏవీ కనిపించని స్థితిలో ప్రస్తుతానికి భారత్ ఈ మార్గం పట్టాలని అనుకున్నట్టు కనిపిస్తోంది.

సుష్మ ప్రసంగాన్ని ప్రధాన ప్రతిపక్షం కాంగ్రెస్ చప్పగా ఉన్నట్టు చిత్రిస్తూ విరుచుకుపడింది. పాకిస్తాన్ ను ఉగ్రవాద దేశంగా ఎందుకు పేర్కొనలేదని నిలదీసింది. పాకిస్తాన్ ను పేరుపెట్టి ప్రశ్నించడానికి కూడా సుష్మ వెనకాడారని ఆరోపించింది. అయితే, విదేశాంగ, దౌత్య వ్యవహారాలలో నిపుణులైన అనేకమంది మాజీ అధికారులు సుష్మ ప్రసంగం ఎంతో సమతూకంతోనూ, యూ.ఎన్, వేదికకు తగినట్టుగానూ ఉందని అభినందించడం గమనార్హం. పాక్ ప్రధాని నవాజ్ షరీఫ్ తన యూ.ఎన్. ప్రసంగాన్ని పూర్తిగా భారత్ లేదా కాశ్మీర్ కేంద్రితం చేయగా సుష్మ ప్రసంగం మాత్రం ఆ అంతర్జాతీయ వేదిక స్వభావానికీ, మర్యాదకూ అనుగుణంగా ఉందని నిపుణులు వ్యాఖ్యానించారు. ఈ విషయంలో కాంగ్రెస్ తనతో గొంతు కలిపేవారు లేక ఏకాకి అవడం స్పష్టంగా కనిపించింది. అలాగే, బెలూచీస్తాన్ ను, సింధు జలాల ఒప్పందాన్ని కొత్తగా  చర్చలోకి తీసుకురావడం తమ ఘనతే నని బీజేపీ వర్గాలు చెప్పుకుంటుంటే, కాంగ్రెస్ ఇబ్బందిలో పడడం కూడా స్పష్టంగా కనిపించింది. బెలూచీస్తాన్ తిరుగుబాటు నేతలు ప్రధాని మన్మోహన్ సింగ్ నూ రెండుసార్లు కలసుకున్నారని చెప్పి తనను సమర్థించుకోబోయింది.

ఏది ఏమైనా, పాక్ కు ఎలా జవాబు చెప్పాలన్న విషయంలో అన్నివైపుల నుంచీ ప్రభుత్వం నిస్సహాయతను ఎదుర్కొంటున్న ఈ స్థితిలో కూడా విదేశాంగ నిపుణుల మద్దతు ప్రభుత్వానికి లభిస్తుండడం విశేషం.

సింధు జలాల ఒప్పందం

ఇదే మద్దతు సింధు జలాల ఒప్పందం విషయంలో కూడా విదేశాంగ నిపుణుల నుంచి వ్యక్తమవుతోంది. ప్రభుత్వం ఆ ఒప్పందం రద్దు దిశగా ఆలోచన చేస్తున్నట్టు సూచన జారీ అయింది. ప్రధాని సోమవారం నాడు సంబంధిత అధికారులతో సమావేశమైనప్పుడు అలాంటి నిర్ణయం జరుగుతుందేమో నని అనుకున్నవారూ ఉన్నారు. కానీ అందుకు భిన్నంగా భారత్- పాక్ లతో సంబంధమున్న ఆరు నదులనుంచీ గరిష్టంగా నీటిని వాడుకుని పాక్ కు అందే నీటి పరిమాణం తగ్గేలా చూడాలన్న దిశగా ప్రభుత్వం ఆలోచన సాగినట్టు తెలియవచ్చింది. అలాగే రెండు దేశాల మధ్య ఆరు నెలలకు ఓసారి జరిగే ఇండస్ కమిషన్ సమావేశాలను ఆపే ఆలోచన కూడా చేసినట్టు తెలిసింది. విదేశాంగ నిపుణులు, ఇతర మేధావివర్గాలూ ఈ ఆలోచనకు మద్దతు తెలిపాయి. భారత్ కనుక ఈ నదుల జలాలను నిల్వ చేయడానికి డ్యామ్ ల నిర్మాణం చేపట్టి వేగవంతం చేస్తే పాకిస్తాన్ కు ఊపిరాడని పరిస్థితి దానికదే వస్తుందనీ, ఇది కూడా పాక్ ను నిలవరించే సమర్థ వ్యూహమేననే అభిప్రాయం వ్యక్తమైంది.

ఒప్పందం ప్రకారం మన దేశం  ఈ నదుల జలాలపై ఆధారపడి 3.6 ఎకరాల అడుగుల నిల్వ సామర్థ్యాన్ని అభివృద్ధి చేసుకోవచ్చు. కానీ ఇన్నేళ్లలోనూ మనం ఆ ప్రయత్నాన్ని ఎందుకు చేయలేదో అంతుబట్టదు. ఇందుకు భిన్నంగా పాకిస్తాన్ మూడు పెద్ద జలాశయాలను, అనేకం చిన్నవాటిని నిర్మించుకుని పెద్ద ఎత్తున కాలువల వ్యవస్థను అభివృద్ధి చేసుకుంది. పాకిస్తాన్ లోని 65 శాతం ప్రాంతం సింధు పరీవాహక ప్రాంతంగా ఉంది. పాక్ లోని 90 శాతం సాగు నీటి ప్రాంతం దీని కిందే ఉంది. మనం నిల్వ సామర్థ్యాన్ని పెంచుకుంటే అది తప్పకుండా పాకిస్తాన్ ప్రయోజనాలకు ఇబ్బందికారం అవుతుంది. అయితే, అది ఉన్నపళంగా జరిగేది కాదు. అలాగే మనం కాబూల్ నది అభివృద్ధిలో అఫ్ఘానిస్తాన్ కు సహకరించినా అది పాకిస్తాన్ కు ముప్పుగా మారుతుంది.

అదలా ఉంచితే, మాజీ విదేశాంగ మంత్రి యశ్వంత్ సింహ వంటివారు సింధు ఒప్పందాన్ని వెంటనే రద్దు చేసుకోవాలని సూచిస్తున్నారు. ఈ రద్దు ఆలోచన మనం ఎలాంటి ఒత్తిడిలో ఉన్నామో తెలియజేస్తుంది తప్ప అర్థవంతం కాదన్న వ్యాఖ్యలు వినిపిస్తున్నాయి. ఒప్పందాన్ని రద్దు చేసి సింధు జలాలను పాక్ కు పంపకుండా ఆపేస్తే, జమ్ము-కాశ్మీర్, పంజాబ్ లలో అనేక ప్రాంతాలు ముంపుకు గురవుతాయి.

మొత్తానికి ఇది ప్రభుత్వం అనుసరించే పాక్ విధానానికి పెద్ద పరీక్షా కాలం.  ప్రజల అంచనాలకు అనుగుణంగా ఏదో ఒక గట్టి చర్య తీసుకోవలసిన అవసరం సుస్పష్టం. అదేమిటన్నది తేలవలసి ఉంది. దేశ అంతర్గత రాజకీయ అవసరాల రీత్యా కూడా ప్రభుత్వానికి ఇది అనివార్యం.

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Sushma Flays Pakistan

  • Reiterates Kashmir Integral Part of India

New York: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flayed Pakistan for exporting terrorism. Addressing the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday here, Sushma slammed Pakistan as a terrorist haven. She said India has always been getting terrorism in exchange of friendly gestures.

The External Affairs Minister has reiterated, in response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UNGA, that Kashmir is an integral part of India and it will forever remain so. She said the Pakistani dream of snatching away Kashmir from India can never be realised. Pakistan which is trying to highlight human rights violations in Kashmir has been perpetrating brutalities in Balochistan, she said. Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Bahadur Ali is a living example if Pakistan’s cross border terrorism. She reminded the international community that terrorism is the biggest violation of human rights.

Responding to Sharif’s allegation that India was posing unreasonable conditions for talks, Sushma said, ‘We took the initiatives to resolve the issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship’. Pakistan has been in a denial mode even after producing strong, impeccable evidence to prove the acts of terrorism.

Emphasising the need to implement the Comprehensive Convention in International Terrorism, the External Affairs Minister said the General Assembly should act with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt the convention to develop norms to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of terrorism.

Sushma’s speech was considered by experts in international relations as forceful, well crafted and excellent. Only one fourth of her total time was spent on rebutting Nawaz Sharif’s charges while Sharif had spent two thirds of his speech to attack India. The majority of the experts opined that Sushma’s was a balanced speech. Some experts, however, said the minister could have been more vehement in her criticism. She should have told the GA that India was running out of options and it might be forced to act if there is no change in Pakistan’s attitude, they said. She was addressing both the UN General Assembly as well as the people back home. There is no point in wailing and lamenting that Pakistan has not been cooperating in establishing peace, the experts remarked.

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Sharif praises Wani

  • Hits self goal
  • Sushma to reply on 26

New York: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appears to have scored a self goal when he praised Burhan Wani, the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander of Kashmir valley. Addressing the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Sharif described Wani as a young leader who has ’emerged as the symbol of the latest intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement.’ In s video released in August 2015, Wani was seen as an Islami fighter who wanted a global Islamic Caliphate. This attitude resonates with the terrorists fighting for Caliphate but not that of a militant fighting on behalf of Kashmiri community.

The 22-year old Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8. In the video Wani came across as a terrorist who hated pro-India Kashmiris. He threatened that anyone who informs the Indian authorities about their movements would be killed mercilessly. The tapes are available with the intelligence agencies working for western countries. Wani’s sympathies with the violent jihadist movement to make Kashmir a part of the Caliphate reeks religious fundamentalism.

Two leaders in the House of Representatives in the US introduced a resolution demanding that Pakistan be labelled as a State that is sponsoring terrorism.

Nawaz Sheriff denied the charges levelled by Indian government regarding Uri attack.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is sheduled  to address the UNGA on  the 26th when she is expected to mount a scathing attack on Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism.

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Snakes and ladders

S. Madhusudhana Rao

Indian politics are increasingly looking like a game of snakes and ladders. Players will never know when they go up or fall prey to small and big snakes. Even after reaching the top, there is no guarantee that they will not be swallowed by the python that brings them to the bottom of the chart game.

Originated in ancient India, like shatranj, snakes and ladders is essentially a child game. But adults are not averse to play it for the simple reason that they can keep the kids engaged. The beauty of the game is it tests the participants’ luck. Players can’t cheat or manipulate. They move up the ladder or down the snake according to the dots on dice tossed by the players.

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S. Madhusudhana Rao

Some are lucky; some or not. A traditional belief is those who reach the final destination without being caught by snakes are highly successful people. That’s nothing to do with their adeptness in flinging the cube or using skills to manoeuvre the serpents but it is sheer chance of survival. Losing or winning the game depends on how doggedly one fights with a heart of steel and confidence despite facing setbacks in snake holes, in this case, squares.

On the other hand, chess is a brainy game and it can’t be played banking on luck. Strategy is the watchword at every step. A single wrong move can prove disastrous for either of the two players. It’s a battle between two challengers literally fought on a 64-square board. Unlike snakes and ladders, no moral can be drawn from a game of chess. What the wise man says is the game of snakes and ladders is a depository of philosophical truths about life, survival and death if one contemplates about it.

Politics is often compared to a game of chess and it is the art of survival. But rarely politics is seen through the prism of snakes and ladders. If we do, our two ancient games complement each other in political play.

Look at BJP. After completing one year in office with élan, it is frantically searching for solutions to get out of the mess it landed in. Two central ministers, a state chief minister and a minister are in the dock over untenable actions and allegations. While the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje have ‘family and friendly’ ties with Indian Premier League’s former chairman Lalit Modi, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s education claims have returned to haunt her. In Maharashtra, Pankaja Munde, Minister for Women and Child Development, is on the mat over alleged corruption charges.

Strangely, and for inexplicable reasons, all the four BJP leaders are women and Congress and AAP are baying for their blood. Calls for their resignations are getting shriller by the hour. Whether they would quit on their own or would be asked to resign by the party is not the point. It is how the political scenario has changed with Lalit Modi’s revelations, a la WikiLeaks, and the coincidence of filing cases against Smriti and Pankaja.

All BJP stalwarts except Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed their solidarity with all the four women without buckling under opposition pressure and onslaught. The big question is how long they will be shielded when layer after layer of their defences, particularly in the case of the two central ministers and one chief minister, are being peeled off by BJP adversaries?

The saffron party urgently needs a strategy to counter Congress game-plan. But BJP moves, both defensive and offensive, are not saving the part’s face. Obviously, luck is on Congress side at this time of the year. That means after having climbed political ladders in several states and at the centre, the BJP is in the throes of setbacks. After success, the inevitability of fall is natural like in the case of snakes and ladders. Further danger comes from the python if anyone enters its den or if it spews venom.

No prize for guesses since everyone knows how these political games are being played out on the lines of snakes and ladders and chess.

These are going on not only at the centre but also in the two Telugu states. AP and Telangana chief ministers have been playing a game of chess ever since the bifurcation. What’s interesting is both Chandrababu Naidu and KCR are trying to checkmate each other. However, the cash-for-vote scam is turning out to be a game of snakes and ladders.

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Friends in power and politics

S. Madhusudhana Rao

Power, politics and personal relationships make a strange mix. It’s a potent concoction that can spell disaster for those involved in blending them without a modicum of discretion. The unfolding drama in New Delhi involving the big wigs of all political parties points out to the high stakes in what is dubbed ‘Modigate’.

It all began with the allegation of demure Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, helping the former flamboyant Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi secure a British visa, pulling strings in New Delhi and London, last year.

S.Madhusudhana Rao

S. Madhusudhana Rao

Why did Sushma Swaraj go out of her way to help Modi leave the country when several serious fraud cases have been pending against him? An innocuous explanation that the visa had been granted on humanitarian grounds to facilitate cancer treatment for his wife did not cut much ice. As Foreign Minister, did not Sushma know that Lalit Modi had been facing a number of fraud allegations and the investigating agencies were about to file charges against him?

Despite the pending cases against IPL founder, why did Sushma allow him to leave the country? These are some of the uncomfortable questions that have put the ruling BJP dispensation that has stood behind Sushma like a rock in the dock. However, the saffron party has not come forward clarifying the government position on the raging controversy. As if silence is golden in the hour of personal-political crisis of a key minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been keeping mum.

His discreet silence on the whole episode, which has also dragged Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje into the row, has given Congress leaders enough ammunition to attack the Prime Minister and demand the sacking of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara. Congress-sponsored and opposition-inspired street protests against BJP have come back in a big way across the country.

Congress, reeling under humiliating defeat in the last general election, got an opportunity to floor the ruling party outside parliament for the first time. Not surprisingly, the rejuvenated Rahul Gandhi is leading the frontal attack on BJP as his close aides see the Lalit Modi visa row as God’s gift to boost the Congress vice-president’s public image.

Congress jubilation is not without justification. New revelations, straight from Lalit Modi, Vasundhara Raje and even National Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar have given new twists to the drama and added spice to its contents hotly being debated on TV channels. Nevertheless, suspense continues whether the two prominent female faces of BJP would step down voluntarily admitting to impropriety or be asked by PM Modi to quit.

Endless debates and speculations have been going on about Sushma’s ‘humanitarian’ and Vasundhara’s ‘friendly’ gestures to Lalit Modi at different points of time. By their own admission, the trio’s friendship goes back to a couple of decades. But some explosive claims he had made in an exclusive interview with Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today TV channel on Tuesday make it clear that there is more to their ties than meets the eye.

For example, Sushma Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri had provided legal services to Lalit Modi ‘free of cost’ while Vasundhara, according to Modi, accompanied his wife Minal to Portugal for cancer treatment in 2012. Earlier, in 2011, she had reportedly given a witness statement to British authorities supporting Lalit Modi’s case for migration to Britain with a confidentiality clause that her name should not be disclosed. But a copy of the document shown on the TV did not have her signature and she feigned ignorance when questioned about it by the media. However, the former IPL boss confirmed it in his interview given in Montenegro, Spain, where he was whiling away.

Rajasthan CM’s claim of close family ties with Lalit Modi seems to have percolated to corporate level if we go by the disclosures made by the Enforcement Directorate which is probing his cases. According to ED, he had put in more than Rs 11 crores in a company floated by Vasundhara’s son Dushyant Singh, a BJP parliamentarian. Such revelations, obviously, put the Rajasthan CM on a sticky wicket. In the days to come she has a lot of explanation to do about her ties with a man who is wanted in this country for economic offences.

It is worth recalling how powerful he was when he was the chairman of the Indian Premier League and chief of the Champions League between 2008 and 2010. He was also the vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) between 2005 and 2010. He had been flying high, literally, on the phenomenal IPL success and rubbing shoulders with powers that be in every field of activity. In cricket-crazy India, money, power and fame are a heady mix and Lalit Modi must have come to his senses after his mighty fall from grace.

In his sensational interview, the former IPL boss had also claimed that Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel (former Union Minister for Aviation) and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla had also helped him. To what extent would be known only after a thorough investigation into Lalit Modi’s claims.

Their fallout on the Modi government is immense. Despite some colleagues coming to the rescue of Sushma, the question of impropriety is hanging heavy on her head. As such her position becomes untenable. Has she taken the moral responsibility and submitted her resignation – whether it will be accepted or not is a different issue – she would not have faced the ignominy of helping a ‘fugitive.’

Now, the ball is in Modi’s court. BJP which came to power riding a wave of anti-Congress sentiment and preaching high moral standards in politics can’t renege on its commitment a year after governing the country. Nor can it shield Sushma and Vasundhara raking up Congress ministers’ misdeeds and scandals. Voters punished them at the polls precisely because Congress and its allies had lost moral ground to rule the country. BJP should not repeat the mistake. If it does, it will pay a heavy political price.

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