Sunday, October 28, 2007

In the Business of Politics - Karnataka

It’s all out in the open. News channels have been following this relentlessly and the public knows it all. There is no room for “tongue-in-cheek” remarks or quips with sarcasm here. This is, hence, a plain vanilla post tracing the developments involving the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Rebels, the Congress and the people at Bangalore over the past few days.

A couple of years back, Mr. CM said he would be the CM and his deputy would be the DCM till it was half way; they would then exchange seats for the remaining term. They agreed.

When it was almost half way, CM realised that his DCM was actually from BJP, a party with communal colours. With genuine concern for the people and the state, and with the able advice of his experienced Dad, the CM started pondering over his future course of action when it was almost time to quit.

The DCM sensed this and raised an alarm in his party; DCM started exerting pressure on the CM and his family and set a deadline.

But the CM was, by now, convinced that his people are more important than the word given to his partner. With great difficulty, CM threw his word out of the window and decided to do something or the other to continue serving the society, staying on at the helm.

DCM screamed foul play. His party labelled this a betrayal. DCM withdrew support to the CM. Mr Governor and Lady President came into the picture.

This was an opportunity for rebels in the CM’s camp. The Congress was also smart enough to be opportunistic. The rebels worked overtime to squeeze a convenient alliance with the Congress.

The CM was annoyed. Why should both the CM and the DCM renounce power while the rebel takes all the money? Further, even though the CM and the DCM declared that they were ready to face fresh elections, they never actually dared to do so. They were responsible people and knew how much it would cost the coffers to hold fresh elections – and that too, with uncertain results.

CM sat with his experienced Dad and worked out the numbers. The CM always had, in one corner of his heart, the guilt feeling that he was sacrificing his word to his DCM for the sake of people. At one point in time, he had also thought of approaching the Congress to get back to power. The Congress is better than a communal party any day, he used to think. But he wanted to play a major role in making sure the Congress served his people. So, this rebel strategy of aligning with the Congress was not his definition of social service; and he would never entertain back-door entry.

This set the stage for Saturday’s action. The CM and the DCM got together again. The DCM had called the CM a betrayer; the CM and his dad had taunted the BJP as communal who would spoil the welfare of the citizens of the state if the power-sharing agreement was respected. But that was long time back. This strife for the past month made them realise how dearly they missed each other.

With this turnaround, the DCM has nullified his statement of calling the CM a betrayer; and the CM has also proved that when it comes to a promise, he could go to any extent to keep it.

So, in all, this short episode had lessons for all and sundry.

A lesson for the CM: Never entertain rebels; promises can be made, broken and repaired again.
A lesson for the DCM: Never be in a hurry to call someone a betrayer; you may actually re-align with him very soon.
A lesson for the rebels: Do not count the chicks before they are hens; politics is a T20 match – you never know what would happen the next ball.
A lesson for Congress: Make sound calculations and decide whom to align with; you may need full time experts for this process.
A lesson for the people: No betting in politics; do not react to movements; be extremely tolerant; just keep watching and move on. You are just not smart enough to understand games.

Monday, October 01, 2007

TATA/ VSNL Broadband Scam: The Fight Continues!

This fight against TATA Indicom/ VSNL Broadband is on at Orkut:
Readers who have been following this story may be surprised at quite a few revelations:
a. That even though a broadband service is from a name as renowned as TATA is, it could be spurious.
b. That even if courts in India are notorious for the time taken for judgement (as the myth goes), the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum is actually quite fast and effcient (Complaint filed in this case: 30 June 2007; Judgement Date: 13 August 2007; Days taken: 43)
c. That even if judgements are awarded in favour, even if the opposing party happens to be a supposedly reliable name as TATA, getting refunds is quite another story!
According to the court order, refund was to have been given in the case (1381/07) by 10 Sep 2007. There has been absolutely no news of any refund till today, 1 Oct 2007.
It is unfortunate that consumer rights are being treaded upon by companies whose brands have come to symbolise the power of corporate India and whose name still resonates as trust in the minds of millions of ordinary citizens.
There are always bad boys who amass wealth; but then, they would be avowed bad boys. But to preach of good corporate behaviour, project an image worthy of emulation and to practise socially objectionable business is dangerous. Brands grow too big, become larger than life and form a veil that would blind the consumer and keep trapping him in the glow. The internet echoes of complaints against TATA Indicom; while the money-power of TATA still powers the advertising campaign of TATA Broadband.
To extract justice out of such hypocritic organisations is only likely to be cumbersome. Clearway, hence, considers it its responsibility to announce to the world that all that glitters need not be gold.
Despite the judgement in case 1381/07, the fight for refund is still on. And since this violation is being committed by a larger-than-life company that TATA is, Clearway declares the behaviour by TATA, reckless!
Mr Ratan Tata has this to say in his website: "One hundred years from now, I expect the Tatas to be much bigger than it is now. More importantly, I hope the Group comes to be regarded as being the best in India — best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver, and best in our value systems and ethics. Having said that, I hope that a hundred years from now we will spread our wings far beyond India..."
Clearway has this to say here: "A quarter of that time-frame from now, I expect the Tatas to have lost their present shine and glory; In less than 50 years from now, they should count themselves lucky if the brand survives in India. By then, I hope TATA's would at least serve as case studies in demonstrating how NOT to do business and perish in the process"
The fight for Justice continues. Clearway invites Mr Ratan Tata to witness the proceedings!