Nuke deal and political mudslinging…

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 12:32 AM in , , , ,
I just got up after watching an interesting episode of Devil’s Advocate where Karan Thapar interrogated our union science and technology minister Kapil Sibal about his beliefs and opinions on the trust vote due on the 22nd of this month. True to his prototype, Kapil displayed ardent devotee ship towards the congress and bashed the nda in the worst possible manner. He emerged victorious as one of the few speakers unrattled by Thapar’s volley of questions. Right from claiming that he personally knew quite a few young bjp mps’ who supported the deal, to alleging that the repeated ‘U-turns’ just indicated that LK Advani puts his prime-ministerial ambitions over national interest… he left no stone unturned in criticizing the opposition. He personally authenticated the happening of a upa-nda meeting on the 20/21/22nd of December last year (he wasn’t sure about the date) where, according to him, Advani first promised support to Manmohan Singh on the deal after being briefed about the viability of its contents, and later turned his back on these very promises. He quoted Jaswant Singh too where he had once (supposedly), in august 2007, given a thumbs-up on the 123 agreement to everyone - the NSA, the foreign secretary and the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission; at a meeting organized by the pm. After the initial minutes, it became clear that he was taking this opportunity to be on a public talk show to clarify the government’s stand on the trust vote and to show that within themselves the congress is sure of winning a majority on tuesday. He also confirmed that for achieving this purpose, offering monetary inducements to undecided mps is not a part of Mrs. Gandhi’s agenda. I also remember a snide remark about bjp having ‘no real power’ and blindly doing anything to chase it.
(Corollary to this, Thapar took his word and wrote about the two meetings in Sunday Sentiments, his weekly column in Sunday HT.)

Now its one thing to be one of India’s best lawyers… completely another to maculate another party’s image in public based on fanciful statements and assumptions. How much of what he says is fact or fiction, we’ll never know. But the knowledge that a leader as convincing as him moulds public opinion in his favor by confidently delivering half-truths is disturbing. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard him talk at length. Infact a few months back when I was still an inquisitive delhi university student, he had come to the vice-chancellor’s office to impart a lecture on the nuclear deal as a part of the university’s ongoing lecture series (a series that was later graced by amartya sen, his holiness the dalai lama and many a few nobel laureates). Listening to him then and having asked him a few questions on the n-deal myself, I was quite convinced of the importance of India’s go ahead with it. So compelling were his assertions that we in the audience were left with little scope to negate him.

The spell continued for a long time until one fine day when Sitaram Yechury from the cpi(m) politburo was invited to speak in the same lecture series. He, with his speech, managed to shatter some myths. Yechury highlighted what Sibal had so effortlessly camouflaged. Though not an orator of Kapil’s stature, he still managed to drive his point across with reasonable arguments and even distributed (nominally priced) hand-outs at the end of the session to ensure that we took his wiles home to ponder (I retain my copy to this day).

Ironically both stephanians born under the zodiac sign of leo, they interestingly cut across right what the other had tried so hard to enforce. Kapil’s oratory strategy is simple- be elusive about whatever you cant answer and substantiate the elusiveness with examples, facts and figures. In the open Q&A session, he would intimidate any assailant to the extent where he would suddenly be reduced to a joker firing irrelevant questions. Yechury, on the other hand, was a little less shrewd and a lot more politically incorrect. Where Sibal weighs his words in the scales of diplomacy each time before saying them, Yechury is blunt as a knife. Name taking is common. Diplomacy can take a back seat.

While listening to them both seemed highly enriching at that time, now I realize that I had just witnessed a round of political mudslinging. In those hallowed convention halls in the heart of DU, we had been subject to what was soon going to blow up into one of India’s biggest political controversy. Fast forward to present day, in the day of rising inflation and dipping sensex… our political stability hangs by a thread. Whether the upa will be able to sustain a majority and proceed with the nuclear deal remains to be seen. What is apparent now is filthy political give and takes, where criminals like Shibu Soren are being offered chief ministership of Jharkhand by the bjp in return for pledging his mps to them for the crucial trust vote. From Mayawati to Amar Singh, the quest for poaching mps is on. If worst comes to the worst, it wouldn’t be long before Behenji takes over as our next prime minister… flying high on these very rounds of political backstabbing, switched ideologies, public glib-talking, and a few people’s zest to satisfy political vendetta.

Political equations are changing and loyalties are being tested. The upa seems all set to press the accelerator on reforms. It is now taking steps to educate the people about the intricacies of the n-deal and how it’s beneficial for the country (something they should’ve done a long time back). That explains P.Chidambaram taking over Vir Sanghvi’s column in Sunday Hindustan Times’ center page to ramble about ‘deconstructing the deal’ for common good.

It’s hard to remain aloof when all the newspaper headlines, editorials, tv reports and interviews are discussing the n-deal and trust vote. The parliamentary tamasha on Tuesday remains to unfold… but whatever be the result of the big confrontation, it seems the only real losers after the battle concludes, will be us - the junta. A weakening economy and unstable political climate later… god bless a country run by corruptible leaders and power hungry politicians. One word for the contenders of our governance – the fight for power has been shameful.

P.S. More on the nuke deal here.


First week at EY: Sitting duck, hunger struck!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 7:48 PM in ,
Sitting idle, working on somebody else’s workstation… the devil’s workshop (almost established as a permanent member of ‘snoreland’ now) compels me to write about my first week in the office. Hmmm. It all began on the 23rd of June this year. Starry eyed… I made my first foray into the corporate world with tiny little footprints on the shores of a humble branch called consultancy when I entered the swanky EY office that day. A little apprehensive, slightly wary and hugely aware of the sense of achievement that engulfed me… I had little idea about what awaited me behind those glass doors.

Orientation lasted a week. ‘Orientation’ here means a plethora of presentations, a townhall on day one celebrating a merger, an inauguration on day two and a birthday bash on day five. It also included opening new bank accounts, understanding the intranet applications, a few video conferences with our people in the US, signing insurance policies, filling up a bundle of forms, a flashy fleet of cabs waiting to drive us home (based in gurgaon) and basically familiarizing us with the various departments and heads of the organization. Oh, not to forget the awesome food… rajasthani to street grub to sumptuous cakes, all within five days… it’s a virtual foodies paradise. This coupled with many new varieties of salads, rotis, paranthas, rice and sweets every day. Only glitch remains the non vegetarian food that still eludes the otherwise yummy menu :(

Today is day two of week two and I finally feel at home. An approachable manager, a friendly peer group and several supportive seniors later… working after college doesn’t seem like a difficult transition anymore. It’s comfortable, it still about manages to retain the novelty factor and it’s enriching. Net net… I think the days ahead look fairly promising.

Footnote: Stealing the opportunity to temporarily overlook the early morning wake-ups at six and the almost two hour long commutes to Gurgaon… the super strong air conditioning and uber sensitive fire alarms [=))] add more spice to the new life. Still, I’m all smiles :)

P.S. Main attraction for me are the foozeball tables on each floor.
P.P.S. I called myself an appendage to zzzzzzland because this week has been reasonably unoccupied. Got to enjoy it while it lasts… expect many new posts on yashikaworld =))

Copyright © 2009 Yashika T Khanna All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek. | Bloggerized by FalconHive.