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Jat reservations in Haryana stayed by High Court – bound to happen

It was expected to happen, and everybody would have expected it. A long time back, around a couple of decades back, the Supreme Court set a deadline for reservations at 50%, and neither anger from MP’s and politicians nor many appeals to the courts could change this level. With the ensuring of judicial review of the 9th schedule, any action taken by Parliament or the Government is subject to challenger, and typical reservation enhancement laws have been set aside (in fact, the reservation level currently is already 50%, so it is not possible to put fresh reservations). However, this puts the politicians in a tough position, or for those who are more cynical, politicians have nothing to lose – any amount of controversy only benefits the political class. Equally, the courts are taking a stronger view on the policy decisions by Governments to implement reservations without any background. So, previous decisions by state govts to announce reservation decisions for political reasons has run into court challenges where the government has been challenged to show the basis for which these reservations have been given and in cases where there is no justification, the decisions have been scarppe
The plight of large sections of society is troublesome with their backwardness, both socially and economically. The social backwardness of large sections of society is something that was sought to be attacked by reservations – however it was sought that along with reservations happening, there would be social and economic programs that would uplift these downtrodden sections of society and provide them the same chances and options as other members of society. However, this was no to be. The primarily Congress Government (and the other governments as well) saw these sections as a vote bank, and never really made the high degree of effort needed to uplift them. Everybody did have a stake in ensuring that reservations continued year after year, and some years back, these reservations were also extended to educational opportunities. Protests by those who did not have the facility of reservations led to a landmark decision by the Supreme Court which agreed that there was a need for reservations, but also set a cap of 50% on overall reservation levels, and excepting for a few states such as Tamil Nadu, is implemented by the courts. Continue reading Jat reservations in Haryana stayed by High Court – bound to happen

India deals with Iran for the Chabahar port – strategic deal

India has a huge strategic position in the countries of Central Asia, and even closer than that, with Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the strategic backyard of Pakistan, and left to itself, that is what Pakistan would make it to be. This was exactly what had happened earlier when the Pakistani Govt and army created the Taliban and provided it the support it needed to steadily defeat the existing Afghanistan Government and setup a terror state, one which was totally against India and run by proxy by Pakistan. However, Afghanistan is a landlocked country, and for a long time India tried to get access rights through Pakistan. It was pretty clear that Pakistan would not provide access rights that would allow free trade between India and Afghanistan, and even less, allow the transfer of military equipment from India to Pakistan. One cannot do extensive trade or military interactions through the use of airplanes, and hence India needs a way to access Afghanistan, and beyond it, the Central Asian republics, extending trading rights.
For some time now, India has been eyeing the Chabahar port, but it would require investments on a fairly large scale, and you can be sure that Iran is aware of the strategic importance of the port. In addition, it would provide a way for Iran to provide oil and gas supplies to the fuel hungry Indian sub-continent and East Asia (including China). But, the problem all these years were the sanctions against Iran because of the fears that it was developing nuclear weapons. These sanctions had the power to bite, since they would involve financial strictures against banks and entities involved in large deals with Iran (buying oil was allowed, you cannot cut everything off, but it required some financial acrobatics to pay for the oil). As a result, India was bound. It was interested in the port, but could not promise the investments required without running afoul of the US. So, it was a waiting time. India kept its relations with Iran on an even keel, not taking part in the sanctions and not getting in the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia for superiority as leader of the Islamic world. Continue reading India deals with Iran for the Chabahar port – strategic deal

The fate of the Congress after the recent state polls

The state of a political party can be determined just on the basis of what its workers celebrate. So, in the past couple of weeks, the Congress has celebrated the failure of the BJP attempt to unseat the Congress from the government of the state of Uttarakhand, it has celebrated a few councillor seats in Delhi due to bypolls, and it has half-heartedly tried to celebrate the fact that the BJP did not make much headway in Kerala and Tamil Nadu (although the BJP did win an assembly seat in Kerala, which is a big achievement for the party since it has always failed to open its account in the state).
In the midst of all this, the Congress party is yet to answer the question about how to will reverse the series of losses in states and the center that have happened since 2013, with states across the Hindi heartland either dumping the Congress or re-electing the BJP Government. So, states such as Chattisgarh and Punjab, where the Congress was in opposition, were expected to be in play for the Congress to take over, and there was expected to be anti-incumbency in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where the BJP had been ruling for multiple terms. However, all of those were states where the Congress failed to gain power, particularly states in the Hindi heartland, states that have huge populations and hence matter a lot both in terms of perception and in terms of numbers of Lok Sabha seats. At the time of the first Delhi elections where both the Congress and the BJP had won some seats but the AAP (a novice party without the required political experience) had won a larger chunk of seats and the Congress had hence lost power, the heir apparent of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, had declared that they will learn lessons from the way that AAP had managed to take over and would implement changes. Continue reading The fate of the Congress after the recent state polls