Sanyasin is CM, CM is Sanyasi

The magic of Ballot has unfolded in Madhya Pradesh. The sansyasin (or sadhwi, whatever) Uma Bharti is destined to become the next Chief Minister of my home-state Madhya Pradesh and the defeated CM Digvijay Singh (incidentally called Diggi “Raja”) will take a political Sanyas, if words must be kept. What an irony! The confident-till-yesterday Diggi raja didn’t had to say “he failed to read the public pulse”.

While the saffron brigade must be evidently happy, let me remind the sadhwi behen a few things. Now that you are here I want the promises to be kept, I want a chaak-chaukas prabandh of all amenities in the state (hope Umaji you haven’t already had a bout of amnesia) including Roads and Electricity (I don’t care how you do it), and yes I want the stupid Professional Tax to be withdrawn immediately. That’s what I voted you for! Wipe that pasina off your face, when you win an election on issues such as development (and not your favorite issue) there is a lot more burden of work to do. So while you are famous for dashing off to Maihar Devi and Vaishnodevi at one go and go to sleep at 9PM sharp, lady: we are expecting some work here. Less pravachan, more output, please.

Identity Crisis

The Indian states of Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (MP), NCT of Delhi and Rajasthan are going for assembly polls tomorrow. Funnily, the MP Election commission has specified 16 ways to identify a voter. The list includes Ration card, Student ID card, The IT PAN card, Passprot, Driving license, Blue card for people below poverty line and so on, apart from the expected Voter Identity card.

This is the typical Indian irony that despite of the Election commission's emphasis on the Voter ID card since T.N.Seshan's time to ensure fair elections, very few states have seriously implemented the idea for its entire population. With 16 means of identity it can be very well judged how the electoral officers are going to ensure the “fairness” in the poll. Why can't we have a single ID number, a single means of identity for an indian citizen akin to the Social Security number in the US and european countries. A number that can be used to track a citizen for every job whether for health services, tax purposes, education or voting.

India boasts of progerss in the IT sector and e-governance. We have reached the age of saying ta-ta to the manual voting system with the entire election being held using voting machines. But when can we really see a single smart-card for every Indian citizen that prevents him and the administration from all hassles, remains to be seen.

The spammer Chief-minister

Well these are election times and the other day I was wondering whether the political parties are considering email as a medium of canvassing. Today I received a spam from, as it is signed, Narendra Modi the Gujarat CM, as many of you also might have received. The mail has possibly been distributed using private mailers and is targetted at the NRI or NRGs (non-resident Gujaratis) for “making the Uttarayan and Kite Festival an internationally known icon of Gujarat”. Excerpts from the mail:

As in case of Navratri Festival, we are planning to build up this Kite Festival during Uttarayan as an international event. We want to use the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas oqganized by Government of India and FICCI to invite the Mon Resident Indians and more specifically the Non Resident Gujaratis to Gujarat. We are planning a 3-day programme between 12th and 14th January, 2004. On 12th January, we will have a Convention of NRIs/NRGs for sharing of views and exchange of ideas and technologies. On 13th January, we are planning tourist circuits so that the visitors could be taken to various tourist places and developmental projects of the State for a first hand exposure. On 14th January, the guests will get a feel of the Uttarayan and Kite Festival when the blue sky is full of kites of different colours and sizes.