Friday, December 3, 2010

Chavan Replaces Chavan

Vivek Kulkarni

Chavan replaces Chavan

Amidst the charges of corruption over the Adarsh society scam the Congress high command has replaced the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Prithviraj Chavan has become the chief Minister after resignation by Ashok Chavan.
Even before the Adarsh society scam, Ashok Chavan was alleged for involvement in other scams like paid news and corruption in co-operative sector. The Congress party was already facing charges of corruption in the Commonwealth games and 2G spectrum. There was much roar over the Adarsh scam in parliament and by opposition parties in Maharashtra. After formation of two member committee of Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony by the Congress party it was clear that Ashok Chavan would be removed from the post of chief minister. On very next day after Obama’a visit to India Ashok Chavan was asked to resign.
Former Chief Ministers of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh , Narayan and Sushilkumar Shinde were out of race for the Chief Ministerial post as these names were surfaced in the scam. They were alleged to have recommended some names for allotments of flats in the Adarsh society and these flats were sold at lower prices. Names of many Maharashtra Congress leaders like Harshvardhan Patil, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, Mukul Waknis were in the news. But most prominent among them was Minister of State in Prime Minister’s office (PMO) Prithviraj Chavan.
Prithviraj Chavan is close to both, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He was looking after PMO, Department of Science & Technology and Parliamentary affairs at the centre. Although he is good at administration but it is said that he is not very well aware about conditions in the Maharashtra. Internal politics in the state Congress is going to be one of the biggest hurdles during his tenure. His equation with the alliance partner in the Maharashtra Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar doesn’t go well along. He is expected to lead Congress against aggressive politics of NCP.
When the Congress was replacing Chief Minister, its alliance partner NCP also changed the Deputy Chief Minister. Minister of Irrigation in the state and nephew of Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar was elected as the new Deputy Chief Minister. He replaced Chagan Bhujabal. In a sudden move, more than 50 Ajit Pawar supporters MLA’s (member of legislative assembly) wrote a letter to Sharad Pawar demanding to make Ajit Pawar , Deputy Chief Minister. Sharad Pawar had no option; Ajit Pawar was elected as Deputy Chief Minister.
After that it was alleged that as both the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are from Maratha community backward classes have no place in this government. And as both these leaders belong to western Maharashtra, considered as developed part of Maharashtra, it is said that underdeveloped parts of the Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha will be neglected. Newly elected CM and Dy.CM have assured that there will not be any discrimination against any caste, community or any region.
The Congress-NCP is in alliance not due to their performance but due to fragmented and discredited opposition parties the state. Main challenge before the new government is to give corruption free and efficient government. Nothing less will do.

Haiti Election

Vivek Kulkarni

Haiti Election

Haiti’s immediate future appears unclear after recently conducted polls to elect its President. Along with this, elections for 99 Deputies and 10 Senator were also conducted. Twelve out of nineteen candidates contesting for the Presidential post alleged massive fraud during the election.

Haiti witnessed a major natural calamity in the form of an earthquake in January of this year. In the month of October there was an outbreak of cholera in which about 1500 people have died. So, there was doubt whether election could be conducted or not, but the United States was determined to conduct the election. There was fear of further spread of cholera due to mobilisation of people on a large scale during the election.

Situation in Haiti was volatile after the cholera outbreak. People believed that The United Nation’s peace-keeping forces were responsible for the outbreak and spread of cholera. Chants such as “we refuse to vote while living under the tarps” were replaced by “cholera and UN peacekeepers are brothers”. The songs were accompanied by burned -cars, flaming tyres, broken glass and the coffins of cholera victims blocking the vehicle movements. Forcing aid workers to suspend their operation and leaving people dead on the streets. Conducting the election in such a situation was a major challenge.

International community had expressed concern over the situation in Haiti. Many countries were of the opinion that the process that establishes democratic set up in any country should also be democratic and they did not want to see people dying in violence. During the election, while there were sporadic incidents of violence, there did not appear any major skirmishes or damage to property. In some places ballot boxes were stolen and several marked ballots were seen on ground. According to media sources many of these ballots were marked for the one candidate named Martelly.

On the day of election, 12 out of 19 candidates contesting for the Presidency called the election as a ‘massive fraud’. On voting day, in the afternoon, these candidates addressed a press conference. Machel Joseph Martely, Mirlande Manigat, Charles-Henry Baker, Jean Henry Ceant were the candidates who spoke in the press conference. A joint statement of all the 12 candidates was issued during the press conference. In the statement they appealed people to take to the streets peacefully against the government and the county’s Provisional Electoral Council, known as CEP. They alleged that there was bogus voting on a large scale.

In response to the statement, supporters of all the leaders hit the street of capital Port-au Prince and the Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in the country, after the polls were closed. Official time for closing of polling was 4 p.m. but it was not sure whether it was closed at that time in all the places. Thousands of supporters sang songs and raised slogans against the government and CEP.

There was problem of electoral listing and at large numbers of names were missing from the electoral rolls. The problem of electoral lists occurred also due to the earthquake and cholera epidemic, as records were missing. Even CEP also admitted the problem in the electoral list. The international aid giving countries conducted the meeting to take stock of the situation.

Result of the election will be declared on December 7. The candidate who secures more than 50% of the total votes will be declared as President. In case, any candidate doesn’t get required votes then top two contenders will again fight an election on January 16 which will ultimately decide the President.