What is the deal?

The unanimous passage of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill both by the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha has not gone down well both with a section of the media and what is known as the fringe elements of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The rank and file of the BJP is totally non plussed and the rumour mills of the RSS are churning out conspiracy theories by the dozen.

They are convinced that there has been a huge deal between the Congress and BJP. This section which is always itching for a fight, alleges that the Congress has been assured that Robert Vadra would become a persona non grata in exchange for its support to the Bill.

We will see that when Priyanka Gandhi takes charge of the election campaign of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh later this month.

The electronic media did not waste even a few hours to let this unprecedented development sink in.Even as the Bill was being debated in Rajya Sabha the well known war-monger of TV channels whom we cannot ignore was trying to embarrass the Congress spokesperson asking him repeatedly, 'No tell me are you happy?"

Such dicey questions are like the criss cross game we played in childhood. If he said yes the next question would be "They stole your idea and you are happy." If he said No, he would be hauled up over hot coals by the party. So the best he could do was to wriggle out by saying that the BJP had accepted the amendment to the original bill and it was a victory of the Congress.

Worst was the position of a known BJP supporter.Only a few minutes earlier he had been sparkling and smiling on another channel that good sense had prevailed on the Opposition, echoing the sentiments of the Prime Minister.But he looked totally bewildered when the Harvard returned anchor literally shouted at him that the BJP had compromised its principles and that it was a comedown.

Yet another channel arranged a debate on whether there should be more GST moments which was actually a provocation to both sides to show that they had not compromised.


A new look Congress team in Rajya Sabha

There is no doubt that ever since P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Oscar Fernandes were nominated and Jairam Ramesh renominated to the Rajya Sabha the debates have become more informed.

It was heart-warming to see Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gracefully accepting the suggestions of his predecessor P Chidambaram while speaking on the GST bill. The nationally televised proceedings of the Rajya Sabha on that day when both Congress and BJP had issued whips to its members to be present took viewers back in time when politicians were more civilised while talking to their political rivals.

Their nomination also means two things.One, the Congress is putting its best foot forward in the Rajya Sabha to get an image makeover having been publicly mocked both in political discourse and on social media for having a leader like Rahul Gandhi to counter Narendra Modi.

Secondly, this also means that it will not shy away from a fight. Oscar Fernandes, for instance heads the Board that looks after the National Herald. Subramanian Swamy the newly nominated BJP leader to the Rajya Sabha who has been at war against this newspaper run by the Congress will now have someone who can counter his statements in the House.

The intention of the Congress to take it on the chin is also evident from the fact that Chidambaram and his son have been soft targets of the guided missile called Subramanian Swamy whom he will have to face every time he comes to Parliament.

Chidambaram, a lawyer and a former Finance and Home Minister made his intentions clear in the first week itself when he challenged the figures of inflation and GDP doled out by Jaitley for the tenure of the UPA.

Congress insiders say that with Sonia Gandhi who has been the longest serving President of the century old party, not keeping well it was time the second line of leadership came forward to preserve and carry forward the legacy.


PM Modi speaking the language of General Bakshi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have lost a golden opportunity to solve the vexed Kashmir tangle that has lasted over a month by the time of going to press.

Even though the state has a government led by the BJP-PDP coalition the Centre has been clueless about how and where to begin the process of restoring peace to the valley.

The methods tried so far by the authorities have failed to cut ice so far as they do not get to the root cause of the problem.Cutting down telephone and Internet services have not helped earlier and have failed this time too.It only alienates the youths further.

The Rajya Sabha passed a unanimous resolution on Kashmir, which was a good beginning. Then the PM addressed an all party meeting where among those who were not invited was Omar Abdullah.

If that was not enough indication of the lack of seriousness of the government to tackle the problem the Prime Minister too took a tangential approach.

Instead of tackling the fire at home he advocates that MPs should tell the world about the uprising against the Pakistan regime in Balochistan.

This is clearly a diversionary tactic and will help no one.

But unfortunately this line of thinking has been dominating the BJP think tank through its various outfits and spokespersons.

One of them Major General G D Bakshi who is associated with the Vivekananda Memorial created a stir by his speech at the IIT Madras where he said,"In our generation, we split Pakistan into 2. Your generation should split it into 4. Only then we can live in peace!"

When some students said they were shocked by this hate speech he maintained that that it was the only solution to the problem festering in India for the last 30 years.

He went further on with his military strategy by suggesting that if China is supporting Pakistan India should support Vietnam with arms as it is being threatened by China.

He said later he was never in support of Kashmiri students and the left liberals who supported it were supporting sedition.

With this line of thinking being the dominant one it would be difficult to find a lasting solution to the problems of Kashmir in the near future.