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Showing posts from November, 2012

A laborious decline

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By Rajiv Shah
A few days back, I was talking with one of the senior-most bureaucrats of the Gujarat government. I wished to know the minimum wages in the state for such category of workers as peons and lift-men. I am not naming this bureaucrat as we were chatting informally, over a cup of tea, discussing out different things, including ongoing Gujarat state polls. The query took the bureaucrat by surprise, perhaps because he suspected what I was hinting at. “I don’t look after the matter directly, Rajiv. It’s the labour commissioner’s job. There are 450 different categories, and for each minimum wage is different. You can ask my junior (he named him); he has full list”, he told me, sounding evasive. The reason for being evasive was clear. In Gandhinagar Sachivalaya, which is the seat of power in Gujarat, there are in all 750 peons, half of whom are on fixed pay and “irregular”, while the rest are regular employees. If the irregular fixed pay peons get Rs 3,000 per month, which is far …

The "P" factor in Gujarat polls

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By Rajiv Shah
Early this week, I was talking with a senior government official, who happens to belong to one of Gujarat’s economically powerful and influential communities, Patels. I decided to chat with him because he knew its cross section better than many, and had an in-depth first hand information about the community. We were chatting informally, one reason why I’m constrained to keep his name anonymous. Though his pro-Patel soliloquy appeared somewhat jarring, the insight he gave me into his community impressed me. He talked straight, without mincing words, basing on his extremely wide-ranging contacts with politicians of all hues. What struck me most was his following statement, which he made in the context of the Gujarat state assembly polls, to take place in December: “We as a community will vote for the BJP again. The Congress doesn’t seem to want us, though we are ready to be it.”
As for the newly-formed Gujarat Parivartan Party, led by ex-chief minister Keshubhai Patel, thi…