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12

The Lok Sabha Election is lost. The Delhi Government is abandoned. There are many mistakes and it is water under the bridge now. What is important is that lessons are learned so that the rest of the journey escapes this downward spiral.

The most worrying thing for AAP right now is the lack of awareness of just how badly they have fucked up this election and their prospects. While it is good that Yogendra Yadav is at least showing his face after the result unlike the irresponsible Kejriwal, it is alarming to see Yogendra Yadav speak of the result as a positive thing on TV, completely ignoring the utter decimation of AAP. 4 seats in Punjab were done with very little guidance from the core leaders. The core leaders are nowhere to be seen. The efforts of countless volunteers, donors, voters laid waste with not one voice vocal on core policy of AAP entering Parliament. This is not how you uproot corruption.

There seems to be some utopian belief that these things take time and people should wait or join the Party. This is false from what I saw. AAP was more than ready and completely engaged for a far better result. What happened was the leadership completely mismanaging the Election. Total failure to anticipate the public thinking and choose actions for desired impact. The Congress credibility was decimated majorly due to AAP, even if BJP reaped the full results. The BJP credibility actually got strengthened with random strategy. It was not impossible if AAP had stayed on its own track. AAP became something people did not recognize in the process. Not only there seems to be no recognition of that, you have Yogendra Yadav being okay with party growing at its own pace, volunteers volunteering, those leaving not being committed and all kinds of nonsense. Like some new age ashram watching the world unfold with detachment. That is quite a switch from immediately contesting against biggest leaders of biggest parties and further confuses people. If there is no hurry, what was Varanasi and Amethi at the cost of many other seats about?

Volunteers delivered with unprecedented commitment. You had people coming from across the country on their own budgets to support you in Varanasi.

Right now, you have AAP as a party that speaks up against high command culture unable to visualize leaders beyond Arvind Kejriwal who is the final word on everything. Your core reason for existing - the Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj bill have been rendered near impossible in the Delhi Assembly. Incidentally, this is the Delhi Assembly you also quit because you couldn't deliver them and have since got decimated in, in the Lok Sabha Election with Kejriwal who promised the people the world and being there for them and then resigned and vanished and not even contested from there again because he's chasing Modi. You are going to be faced with asking for votes knowing fully that you cannot deliver the Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill because if the UPA blocked it before, a BJP majority is hardly going to pass it now - in the extremely unlikely chance you manage to form a government. Oh. Did I mention Delhi police will be controlled by the party whose workers normally thrash yours? And if you whined about paid media before, elections will be called very soon, and media will have completely legitimate reasons to rave about Modi after his stupendous recent win, AND rave about BJP's complete sweep about Delhi in the Lok Sabha Election AND legitimately discuss the AAP complete decimation in the same Delhi in the same Lok Sabha Election AND Modi will be  living in Delhi AND gives interviews happily now, AND any paid media to cover if an inch of AAP still remains visible. If media was Modified before, with UPA2 in rule, you don't even want to think about it now with Modi as PM.

Whoever thinks this isn't a disaster for the party is delusional. Leaders included.

From what was essentially about convincing voters that it was their best interest that made Delhi govt resign, campaigning for Lok Sabha among people and being well established by the time this vulnerable campaigning came up, the mismanagement of the Lok Sabha Election strategy has brought AAP to this point. Not to mention undoubtedly contributing to the BJP solo majority, instead of weakening it.

This is defeat, and the road ahead is tougher than it was for the new party even. The sooner the party leadership realizes this, the better.

Realizing it will be a problem. The AAP leadership seems to have fallen into the habit of arrogance and tall claims and not listening. People quitting AAP may have false agendas, but you cannot deny that every single person brings up the lack of democracy, and when I said the leadership should be accountable, those within too said that AAP cannot be without Kejriwal in the top spot. When so many views converge on one point, whatever the motivation, there is essence to that point striking a note without fail.

In my view, the AAP leadership needs to be accountable for misusing the tremendous support and delivering a damp squib.

This is my anger. Because my support for the election got misused too. I endorsed the Aam Aadmi Party, and from what would likely be a coalition government I got a clean majority for the party I do not believe capable of governing diversity to the point of the opposition not even having a leader. This is the very worst result I can imagine, and AAP played a role in making it possible when it quit its original plank and got into personality politics and religions. Arvind Kejriwal's historic speech asking if he should contest from Varanasi was all about Ambani and did not once mention Swaraj, instead claiming that it was the will of the Gods.

I would like Arvind Kejriwal to accept that it was the will of the Gods that he does not proceed on this path. Why else would eeshwar, allah and wahe guru conspire to deliver such a result while fooling him that he was winning?

The task ahead is formidable and this post is not intended to only complain, but also offer the ideas that occur to me.

The first and biggest suggestion.

Arvind Kejriwal should resign as national convenor.

This isn't merely about my anger for him and his reckless speech continually committing AAP to consequences it cannot bear (God's will turning out to be defeat, grand statements of not allying with parties, even grander claims of uprooting corruption that ended with Adani-Ambani's party so secure in win). It is also strategy.

Arvind Kejriwal is a thinker, a motivator, a public leader. Being convenor and managing everything about the party burdens him with responsibilities others can handle, and make him less available for what he does best - public outreach. If he appears exhausted in his public appearances, belief in AAP's ability to handle the responsibility it is seeking drops.

His responsibility should solely be campaigning. Not even contesting ideally, but I suppose that can't be avoided initially. The time freed from ALL the other responsibilities will allow him to deliver better speeches instead of repeating content, track and respond to current happenings better and will do a world of good to AAP's image which has increasingly sounded repetitive. This will also make him more available to campaign wherever he is needed - which was one of the killing blows for this election - including for Kumar Vishvas.

Yogendra Yadav should resign as strategist

Unless I am mistaken, contesting from maximum seats was Yogendra Yadav's idea. Combined with the disproportionate funding for Varanasi, it left few resources for other candidates and failed and it destroyed AAP's chances in the places it could win as well by dividing funds, volunteers, public figures and more to the point where resources weren't enough for all the places. This is directly responsible for AAP's decimation and a blunder that cannot be brushed away by merely saying he'll keep at it and one day he will get it right. Using public effort and funds, making public promises obliges Aam Aadmi Party to seek most efficient ways of achieving representation.

Further, there were many comments on Twitter about inappropriate candidate selection in Haryana leading to demotivated volunteers there. This is a serious organizational problem and must be addressed with adequate feedback from volunteers on the ground.

As a senior member of AAP, he probably can take over more of Kejriwal's admin work to free him further. Or something. Which brings me to...

Strategy must be evolved by those deploying it

This was done in the Delhi Assembly campaign already. Volunteers came up with their own ideas and it was a rocking success. Volunteers know what they can pull off, which may not necessarily be hopping across the country in the wake of their inspiration to pull off a miracle there. It could be, but perhaps there could be better ideas too. They know where there are opportunities to pull off something. Candidates putting their reputations and money on the line know what support they need.

A new leadership

AAP cannot grow without a vibrant leadership, and key organizational goals should be developed with specific people taking charge independently. They should be open to input but not dependent on any external approvals to function. This will let the organization grow. You cannot have an National Party that cannot function if core person is not there. AAP has to decide. Is it an Arvind fan club, or is it a movement for self representation and transformation of politics?

If there is space made on the top so that vital roles are not clustered with a few people, then a leadership will emerge naturally, just like AAP emerged when the country needed a change. If there is clustered control at the top, then there is neither the need nor the opportunity for the leadership to emerge.

How to grow?

I am only going to share Swarmwise - Rick Falkvinge's book on how he formed and grew the Pirate Party - which isn't all that different from AAP when it comes to origins or funds. It is full of good ideas, most of them directly useful for AAP - for example public lists of tasks that volunteers can take on and complete on their own initiative, or formation of a team to respond to current affairs within the hour with press statements - this is free publicity media uses - media wants responses to quote when something happens. There are many ideas and insights on what kind of thinking helped the most.

Forming new policies

AAP is going to need a list of concrete deliverables that they can deliver without fearing sabotage by the central government. Whether the sabotage is real or a perception or absent, it cannot be predicted, and AAP cannot afford to resign a second time, no matter what. So creating deal breakers out of Janlokpal Bill or Swaraj Bill will no longer work, though of course the government will fight to make it happen.

This will probably be a good time to promise social efforts - whatever they are - RTI education workshops, or monthly outreach meetings or whatever - that AAP will deliver regardless of whether they win or lose. These should be things that cement the bond with people and improve the quality of public life and public thinking. Because there is a real possibility that AAP will be in the opposition.

Perhaps this can be introduced as a tradition wherever AAP contests. Whether government is formed or not, our elected candidates will deliver these five things in addition to the manifesto points we will work to make possible even in opposition and guarantee will happen if we form a government. AAP needs to start delivering. No matter how small. But concrete.

Return to values

Strip down personality politics completely. Speak values. Respond to specifics without making personality wars. We oppose corruption. We oppose this corrupt action by this person without considering him a lifelong enemy or using his name as a slur. We oppose this policy for business houses because of this reason but the same business house may do its legal business with our complete support. No one is fully good or bad. No citizen or business can be disenfranchised. Wrongs must be stopped, not citizens - no matter how rich or poor.

Promise less, deliver more

AAP's promise is its manifesto that it will strive to deliver. The rest does not need comment. Whether AAP will ally with parties or not, whether AAP will resign or not, whether this is God's will for people or not. Whatever. Stick to your goals and make no promises that are not in writing. It will leave you free to respond to the best of your ability if your plan fails without accusations of breaking your word further harming reputation.

Ditch religion ASAP

Accept support from all - religions, castes, class, criminals, saints, kids, old, women, men, whatever. Care for the interests of all. But do not make special offers to any that were not requested for. Forbid all public representatives from religious tokenism as a means of outreach. Other parties do it better and it is completely irrelevant to AAP agenda. Sure, schedule things to not interfere with religions, but stopping a party event for namaz or anything is unnecessary and inappropriate. Adult Muslims can manage their need to pray without needing the party leadership to give them five minutes to do their thing. An official pause takes you into unnecessary terrain you don't have the capability to handle. Even if you have never intended communal hate.

Appreciating the support

It isn't as "granted" as Yogendra Yadav said. Aam Aadmi Party has remarkably involved and motivated supporters, but they are not an infinite resource where the resource is of poor quality if it discontinues. Being blamed for the failures of leadership will reduce support and demotivate. It is important that this support be acknowledged, and its squandering in the Lok Sabha Elections be accounted. AAP volunteers are labourers of love. They don't want heads to roll still, it seems. I am amazed. I, for one will be very wary about committing months of support in the future without being certain that it is accepted with gravity in the direction it is put to use. But they should at the very least get concrete recognition of failures and measures taken to see that their valuable contributions are not wasted. This should be an open, humble and accountable process by leaders.

This should happen soon, before campaigning for Delhi starts, because the volunteers are still on the Election high. Most have not realized the changing ground realities they will face, which will make things difficult for them and lead to drops in support. AAP needs support. It isn't as callous as dismissing people voluntarily contributing generously as not committed if they stop. If the apology comes before they realize and it values them, and prepares them to collectively face a tougher time for a goal worth achieving, then the support will be stronger - AAP will need that now.

Good Luck!

3

It is the eve before Varanasi goes to poll. Alcohol has been confiscated from BJP offices in Varanasi. When damage control is not possible, what remains is counter-damage in the evergreen BJP goal of achieving "lesser evil".

Update: While Daily Bhaskar mentions alcohol allegedly confiscated, HT reports that the District Magistrate ordered the return of seized items saying there was nothing illegal.

Alcohol confiscated in raid on BJP Varanasi office
Alcohol confiscated in raid on BJP Varanasi office

Latest rumor is that AAP will consider supporting third front in order to stop BJP. This news, like many sensational headlines these days appears to come from the most "happening" source - the imagination.

Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party official handle and several party supporters and leaders have clarified that this news is a complete fabrication. But hell hath no fury like a media determined to peddle a "truth", so we have continue to have news of this support to this - so far - fictional third front.

I have remarked earlier that I wouldn't mind if AAP did that, but I also understand why they don't want to do that. In any case, this news is unlikely to be true due to the simple reason that so far, all such declarations have consistently included BJP and Congress. This news is likely to be a BJP fabrication because it follows a fictional plot only BJP has been able to see so far - that of AAP being a Congress proxy.

Besides, it will give their "speak up in media, shut up in Parliament" traditions something to whine about post-elections if indeed AAP ends up on the same side as other suspected third front parties and give their social media trolls a face saver to accuse about, instead of simply eating crow.

Frankly, I don't know why they bother. They have lost all credibility except among those already devoted to them beyond reason. There is no need to exhibit further duplicity and risk alienating those. AAP joining hands against them at any cost will at best highlight the threat BJP is. If AAP intends to back any front now or later, it is perfectly capable of speaking for itself, if it doesn't, this won't work as slander for the simple reason that most Indians don't bother so much about politics to question a party they otherwise support over alliances. I mean, did BJP supporters quit supporting when you-know-who ended up allying with them? Why would anyone do that with AAP either?

BJP strategy machine is gone so haywire that it is hitting out blindly praying for matkas. Won't help. Varanasi votes tomorrow.

3

The role of paid media in putting the final touches on the Narendra Modi facade.

As Modi's war on India reaches its final stages, skilled professionalism carefully wipes out any specks on the elaborate facade.

  1. Mukesh Ambani sues the government for his oil prices, seemingly without waiting for a BJP rule, just in time for elections. In an astonishing display of media independence, all of Indian media refuses to serve his interests even if he owns major stakes in several of them, and plod along determinedly covering cliches. They, with their ready intellectual panels don't lift a finger to help his interests. Yeah. Right. Because gas prices are hardly a national issue! Why should they cover when the election circus is cued for broadcrebuttingast? At best, this is to create a perception in the minds of people that Ambani isn't counting on Modi to lay golden eggs. The timing of the reminder is very elegant too. Day after campaigning ends in Varanasi, so no question of anyone reminding which MLA controls which portfolios in Gujarat and since when, on the ground in Varanasi.
  2. Carefully scripted news interviews to known supporting journalists have served to project a facade that Modi has answered critics transparently, when he wasn't criticized at all on the interviews. Interviewers have managed to not ask him anything that will get him nailed. Some of this has been so blatant, that the India TV interview was ridiculed for having an applause track in the form of a worshipful audience the way comedy shows have a laughter track - regardless of what he said. This saw Qamar Waheed Naqvi, editorial director resigning in disgust, though Rajat Sharma seems to not understand what was wrong with the interview. After all, it was live, no?
  3. Print interview carefully authored by someone not Modi, in language way beyond anything Modi has shown competence with carefully plaster over some of the more skillful perception juggling that Modi probably couldn't handle in person. Thankfully, this interview finally upgrades the Modi trolls from the Subramanian Swamy issued "Naxals" to "Maoists" apart from the perception mongering of Modi as a moderate leader. Incidentally, this is the same Modi that called "trophy" "toffee" in a speech attended by thousands. "Anachronistic" and "detriment" used by Modi? I haven't heard him speak English that well ever, and not even his Hindi speeches cover the meaning of these words in the manner used in the interview. Would like to hear the audio recording of the interview to believe it isn't paid media.
  4. Within two days, Modi appears before the usually shouting, now silent Arnab, manages to speak uninterrupted for as long as he likes and fixes another major criticism of Maya Kodnani being on his cabinet saying there were no charges against her when he appointed her. Right. An FIR 12 days after the riot couldn't result in charges in five years, is what he is saying, in super efficient Gujarat. So which one does it mean? Super efficient at preventing criminals from coming to justice or so efficient that entire fact finding committee reports couldn't make the Chief Minister aware of the grave acts of Maya Kodnani? Arnab lets it pass like the lamb that he is.
  5. The interview with Arnab actually goes a step ahead and claims Modi to be the victim of media not reporting things he says. This is rather rich, speaking on a channel that officially ran tags mud slinging his opponents using interpretations worthy of being issued by BJP trolls themselves and on the same day as Modi hogging Prime Time TV as per CMS media analysis was the other important headline related with him. And he actually says "When I made her a Minister, she was not facing any charges, for your information. But still, I feel she has the right to get justice for herself from many courts. As a citizen, she has that right. Let her have it." Has he forgotten that Maya Kodnani was convicted? He still doesn't seem to think there was any mistake in appointing her to power. Lucky for him, Arnab is such a tolerant fellow.

These are just some examples, but the final stage of the Modi make up is basically to collect all criticism and answer it in a way that fools all but those aware of issues with open collusion with the media. The task now is to present plausible explanations for as much criticism as possible before people press buttons on EVMs - whether the explanation is true or not.

An article by Tavleen Singh in the Indian Express is accurately named Environmental fraud, though it is rare for such transparency of intent to be declared upfront. I do appreciate the legitimate opportunity to pun "Environmental Fraud by Tavleen Singh" when introducing the article. Considering that the article is an umbrella attack on the legitimacy of environmentalists and an endorsement of policies known harmful to the environment, it is very shabby of Indian Express to not state the conflict of interest in this supposed "truth" being stated.

While I do not hold it against her and will address her arguments directly, I think it is important here to state that Tavleen Singh happens to be the partner of one of the promoters of Lavasa (his name is not required here, since the article is not about him). Lavasa township has come to much grief (and financial losses) due to legal action by environmentalists that had enough substance for the judiciary to put a halt to work on the site for a year. Thus, people with a vested interest in Lavasa having a dislike of environmentalists cannot be called unprejudiced or unmotivated. Additionally, Sharad Pawar, our agriculture minister, whose interests in GM seeds are identical to those this article promotes happens to the Godfather of said Lavasa project. While this in itself may or may not be intellectually incestuous, NOT being transparent about a connection makes one wonder if this is a case of "You scratch my back, I scratch yours and let us be discreet and pretend that it is all very neutral and deserved."

All quotes by Tavleen Singh from article linked above.

"Real environmentalists" / "serious environmentalists"

Reminds me of the "true Hindus" and "true Muslims". As if the rest are made of thermacol. The idea that her disagreement makes environmentalists real or fake is absurd. She is not required to like or agree with all of them for them to be real. Their actions make them environmentalists.

"one of our noisiest lady environmentalists actually declare in Davos that Indian farmers were rich until international seed companies like Monsanto arrived"

This is presumably Vandana Shiva, though the article does not name her. I have no idea what she said in Davos, but I believe that Indian farmers were better off before the seed corporations for several reasons:

  • Patented seeds mean that farmers cannot save their seeds to sow the next year's crop, leading to a direct annual expense for seeds, which also happen to be costlier. This in turn puts them at serious risk of bad debt - a leading cause of farmer suicides.
  • GM crops require more water. I am not inventing this. Monsanto says this. India is rapidly becoming water scarce with industries taking up a vast share of the water and irrigation being overallocated and iffy at best. Not that either manufacturing or agriculture have added jobs since 1995... Unless of course they are Sharad Pawar's pets doing sugarcane and getting a whopping 60% of available water for 6% of the crop.
  • Input costs for fertilizers and pesticides are higher for GM crops.
  • Most farmers in India are small and marginal farmers and cannot afford to plant waste strips of non-GM crops to try to avoid the "expected" resistance to pests that is the selling point of Bt seeds. The idea of these strips is to grow pests like the bollworm (for example) that have no resistance to Bt so that they can breed with Bt resistant pests from the "superstar" seeds and keep them killable. The crop on this land is wasted by design.
  • The resultant race of more GM, more fertilizers and more pesticides has resulted in diseases among humans and animals, which add to the burden of medical expenses compounded by low access.
  • The actual claims of productivity are severely contested per crop and with authoritative, independent research and are beyond the scope of this article to go into detail. It isn't without any evidence that developed countries are limiting or banning use of GM seeds. A simple google search will bring forth an avalanche if anyone is really interested.
  • Productivity itself has been seen to drop with lame excuses from Monsanto that may be good PR, but do nothing to actually change the production. Including in a "perfect" state like Gujarat, which supposedly reports great profits from GM. Monsanto blamed the farmers. Done.
  • Finally, do you know that Indian farmers have set world records for crop yields using organic farming that have left results from GM in the dust? The same traditional methods and bio fertilizers that had been systematically decimated by the British?

Enough said.

"Any farmer could have told this lady that the international seed companies are a welcome change from state-owned companies which have often sold them junk. But farmers have no voice on television and the lady fraud has a very loud one."

Leaving aside the personal comments about the lady environmentalist who sounds suspiciously like Vandana Shiva, Tavleen Singh is clearly ignorant about the 37th All Party Parliamentary Standing Committee on cultivation of Genetically Modified Food Crops - Prospects and Effects, which clearly states that the farmers explicityl detailed problems they faced because of GM crops and demanded a ban. Additionally, ALL MEMBERS of the All Party Parliamentary Standing Committee - across political parties - unanimously endorsed banning cultivation of GM crops in India. The report condemns the paid media report in Times of India promoting Monsanto with falsified information about prosperity of farmers. The members of the Committee physically went to those villages and saw that there was no such thing. How much more voice do you expect? Or is the gold standard of voice about performances in a corporate controlled media? Would Indian Express give space to an angry farmer trashing Monsanto, when their awards of excellence in journalism are sponsored by Mahyco?

I called up a few people who were present during the visit when outlandish tales of outright manipulating the committee came to my ears and can confirm that the government of Maharashtra made great efforts to prevent the All Party Parliamentary Standing Committee from speaking with farmers and tried to con them into meeting a few planted "farmers" - some of whom were input dealers - in a cosy circuit house. Farmers persisted and the Committee visited the villages reported to be prospering and chasing away money lenders and saw fields left barren. In front of the committee, farmers shouted down and chased away not money lenders, but representatives of Monsanto.

"There have been natural disasters in the Himalayas since the beginning of time. If this one was 'manmade' as they claim, then it was because the political leaders who have governed Uttarakhand have been careless about making contingency plans for natural disasters."

and

"Our two most sacred rivers have become sewers despite thousands of crores of rupees having been spent on 'cleaning' them. And yet, the only noise we hear from environmentalists is when a new dam is built. Have they noticed that it was the dams on the Ganga that stopped the whole of Uttarakhand from being washed away?"

and etc (this is getting boring).

First, I'd like to ask Tavleen Singh why she is writing an article about environmentalists instead of "seculars" and "NGOs" - after all, aren't all right wingers supposed to talk about that only?

If my question is absurd, so is the idea that all environmentalists are working on the same thing, namely hydel projects. There are people fighting dams and for more reasons than only the environment. There are people working to get rivers cleaned. Others fight to protect forests, marine life, fight drought, promote water renewal, whatever. Environment isn't one piddly subject that everyone is doing the same thing and from only one angle. Swami Nigamananda died when he fasted unto death in what is rumored to be a murder by political and mafia forces. He wasn't fighting dams, but the sand mafia and pollution. There are all kinds of people. Vijay Panjwani often updates from his legal activism to get judicial pressure for clean ups. To the best of my knowledge, no one has prevented her from taking up a concern she feels strongly about. If it is un-sewering the Ganga and not protecting roads from dog poop, so be it.

The blame for the tragedy has been consistently attributed to irresponsible construction work of which dams were a part. The greatest blame has been on the roads, actually due to the use of dynamite in cutting them creating fractures in the structure of the mountain. Hydel projects don't drop rom the sky. They need development of roads, as well as dam construction. They need construction materials which leads to further exploitation of the river banks. Dams already silt up the upstream while starving the downstream of silt leading to eroded banks and disturbed ecology.

Here is what happens to a construction made of reinforced concrete when subjected to reckless construction activity. Nowhere in the Himalaya, this is, but Katraj tunnel near Pune - a place that has little to do with floods and landslides. This news is not a month old yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tUxN9nHco4

The page on Wikipedia about the environmental impact of dams is well referenced so I'm using this space for one last important piece of disinformation:

"Have they noticed that alternative sources of energy like solar, wind and bio-fuels have mostly failed?"

Failed?

Work on hydel power in India started in 1897, nuclear power started in 1948, renewable energy started in 1983.

India gets 57% of its electricity from coal, 19% from hydro electric power, 12% from renewable, 9% from natural gas and 3.75% from nuclear power.

The oldest dam in India is from the second century. That is older than several of the religions in this country. The first hydro electric power plant in India was in the year 1897 or fifty years before Independence. We currently produce approximately 39GW. We started chasing nuclear power when we were 11 months old. Several parts of current India were not India then. 4780MW to date and we call it the pride of the country and have gone into the international dog house for it. In contrast, our renewable energy production started in the 1980s and already accounts for 28GW or 12% of our electricity production, which Wikipedia assures me is more than the total production of electricity in Austria. In three decades.

India is rapidly growing in solar energy and fastest growing in the world in wind power. What failure?

The fundamental difference here is a difference in what Tavleen Singh sees as a good thing and what I see as a good thing. Projects she thinks are good for the country include Vedanta's bauxite mines and Lavasa and what not. I am not so sure we should be growing to suit the fastest runners. In my view, large projects have delivered comparatively little in comparison with robust grassroots efforts. I am also of the opinions that the super rich have done more to destroy economies and free enterprise than build them. I also think it is dangerous disinformation to club all large projects as one regardless of whether they are government or private. Masses cannot hold private enterprise accountable.

We are both entitled to our opinions. My expectation from media however is transparency and accuracy of information. People can decide for themselves if the information is correct.

Update: I forgot to address Tavleen's point about the Tehri dam that supposedly protected Haridwar. Tavleen Singh might be delighted to know that the Alaknanda blew through the Vishnuprayag Hydro electric project and the water that had backed up behind it wiped out Lambagarh market when it exploded out of the dam. Additionally, dams on Mandakini River such as Phata-Buyong HEP and Singoli-Bhatwari HEP badly damaged. Small dams on Madhaymaheshwer and Kali river are also badly damaged. It is worth considering a moment what the Tehri dam could have done to Haridwar if it too had given way. Perhaps water simply overflowing banks wouldn't be as bad.