Showing posts from 2016

Gujarati Poll Politics In A Bihari Booze Bottle

Ironies abound. Gujarat the grand-dad of liquor prohibition in India is seeking stringent laws to curb drinking as done by baby Bihar, the latest anti-booze crusader state.
The issue has become a magnet uniting anti-BJP groups to take on the Gujarat government which has been lurching from one stir to another in a state slated to go to polls next year. The emerging caste configuration came to the fore early this month when a  joint rally of OBCs and dalits with support from the patels was held in the state capital and demanded the implementation of a stringent Bihar like anti-liquor prohibition policy in Gujarat.
The rally saw the emergence of a new political axis in the state with the dalits and OBCs sharing a platform and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti(PAAS) of Hardik Patel voicing it’s  support to the congregation. The muslims have already announced their support to the dalits.
Such a show of force in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state seeking emulation of the example …

Bellicose BJP & The Antsy Aap !

Cats stalk quietly and wolves prey in packs but why is the behemoth of a BJP getting paranoid over antsy Aam Admi Party(AAP)and barking up all manner of trees?
Quite simply, because it’s iron clasp grip on Gujarat is slipping and a queasy national party leadership is stuck for options to reverse the trend. AAP, analysts say, is set to make impressive  gains in Punjab and Goa and this will majorly impact election results in Gujarat which goes to polls  in the last quarter of 2017.A mere foot-in-the door is all that AAP needs in the prime minister’s home state to make  ants crawl up the pants of the NDA government in the 2019 general elections.
A panic stricken goliath is even mulling the ultimate option of early elections in Gujarat along with UP and Punjab, more to stretch AAP to oblivion than to run the Congress out of reckoning. While BJP president Amit Shah has asked the state party leadership to get into poll mode post haste, the Congress, marinated by Modi through three…

India: Confetti Cleaners & Digital Dreamers

Cleanliness germinates in the mind and spreads to the streets. Last Sunday marked the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (Oct.2,1869 ) and one of his most unassuming disciples, former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (Oct 2,1904). It also marked the completion of two years of a national cleanliness crusade.
Ironically what the Mahatma enunciated in five simple sentences, a century ago, is today the subject of a high decibel-multi-million rupee national project called ‘Clean India mission’ or ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday two years ago. Coupled with ‘Digital India’ initiative- both have a completion deadline of 2019- the two projects, if successfully completed, possess the capacity to radically change the face of independent India. Almost  as much as Rajiv Gandhi’s telecom revolution and village panchayat empowerment or Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ road’s initiative.
The Swachh Bharat Mission envis…

Wagtail Words & Sackcloth Sentences

Soar or sink,words always return to haunt.
Narendra Modi’s utterances were honey to hungry indian ears as he tore into the UPA government to secure a resounding mandate to rule the country. Two years at the helm and the very same words are boomeranging with a scarring tenacity. Moreso after the Uri unfrocking.
Words are heady nectar on the way up and poisoned darts hurtling down. The social media, though open to manipulation, remains a fair barometer of the ebb and tide of mass mood.
Masterful with words Modi would mock the reticent Manmohan with sarcastic chivalry after every border incident or terror onslaught during the decade long UPA rule. Singh is silent but the social media has taken on itself the job of showing him the mirror. Whats app and facebook are choc-a-bloc with clips of the present prime minister’s myriad feisty posturing of how to deal with the Pakistan promoted terror machine. A TV interview jibe where he spoke of answering the neighbour in his own language…

The Booze Benchmark :Gujarat's Hype & Hypocrisy

If pride and prejudices are pesky, both hype and hypocrisy hurt.  Gujarat  and it’s ‘model’ have been the toast of the Indian season ever since it’s Chief Minister , Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014.This includes it’s liquor prohibition policy which has  adherents like Bihar now where Nitish Kumar came to power after knocking the wind out of  Modi’s sails! Billowing in the political clouds ever since, are propounded perceptions of a ‘dry’ India. Kumar could do with a closer look at adversary Modi’s ‘model’ state before giving wings to his national vision. Proud and boastful  of the fact that it has been the only state in the country which was born ‘dry’ and continues to remain so till date, Gujarat’s much hyped liquor ‘totalitarianism’ took a humpty-dumpty like fall last week when over 20 people died after consuming hooch near Surat. What has now become a standard drill after decades of practice,is in place. Newly anointed Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is making…

The Homing Power Pigeon !


Indian politics oscillates between extending poles and impending polls .The first entails constantly shifting markers for political expediency and the second triggers a flurry of activity designed to entice as elections near .Thus the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state on august 30,2016 makes for interesting political interpretation.

One of the most  high profile chief ministers who ruled the state for over a decade and a quarter, this is his first visit to Gujarat to address a public meeting after becoming prime minister over two years ago. In the interim he had been here for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors summit soon after taking over in Delhi, the visit of the Chinese president and a bureaucratic engagement in Kutch. All the three visits were meant to showcase his managerial prowess ,twice to a global audience and once to his indigenous managers.

It was in September 2012, just before the Vidhan Sabha elections in Gujarat that chief minister…

Bushfire in Modiland


The transfer of yet another Gujarat officer to New Delhi should hardly have been news. After all, many key pos¬itions in the national capital have been held by Gujarat-cadre officers since Narendra Modi became prime minister. But when the transfer is from state DGP to DG (Fire Services, Civil Def¬ence and Home Guards) and decided on without consulting the officer, and if the new DGP is an accused in cases of extra-judicial encounter out on bail, eyebrows are bound to be raised.

It was a holiday in Lutyens’ Delhi—Ramnavami—on April 15, a relaxed Friday for the central bureaucracy, when the orders came from the MHA for the immediate transfer of P.C. Thakur. Such alacrity is normally reserved for ‘top priority’ movement ordered at a very high level.
Gandhingar too was also at ease after the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations the day before. The chief secretary was at home, unaware of the development until his att¬ention was drawn to order no. 6/6/2016-EO(SM-1) of the secretaria…

The Caged Quota Crusader


On the lines of writer George R R Martin’s famous quote “Oft-times a very small man can cast a very large shadow…”a hitherto unknown  22 year old son of a farmer sprang from nowhere to take reins of the leadership of  a pro-quota movement for a dominant community in Gujarat.

Hardik Patel, a commerce graduate from an Ahmedabad college is just an average youth with no intellectual pretensions .Fond of cricket ,he like most of his ilk ,was happy in his small town pursuits when the frustrations of the jobless young and the plummeting economics of their agrarian elders infected him. As their numbers swelled ,the restlessness of the young welded with the plight of the old who had paid through their nose for the education of their wards only to find them idling away their time aimlessly or struggle in ill paid jobs .For well over a decade the then  Narendra Modi government in Gujarat had reeled out huge figures of employment through year round extravaganzas with exotic names th…

Eating Words For Breakfast !

Past is never past .It returns to haunt the future.
See how .And I quote.“It is a matter of great concern that the federal structure is under increasing strain ,merely to suit the whims and fancies of the rulers in Delhi .What we are witnessing today is the systematic disruption of our country’s federal structure both in letter and spirit.
Paradoxically, the rulers in New Delhi have repeatedly flexed their muscles in areas where  they should ideally be friendly and cooperative with the states. In order to do so they have not spared any constitutional office .There are many instances of states being targeted through the office of the Governor .Several other bodies are also being misused by the Centre to weaken the states ruled by the opposition in order to score political brownie points .Chief ministers are not consulted on crucial appointments .Rather appointments are being thrust down violating the spirit of the laws of the land. Why is it that chief ministers cutting acr…

India:The Sound And Light Show

Nothing grows under a banyan tree .Again, dazzling light ,shattering sound and pummeling propaganda may induce ,even overawe but rarely inspires .Whether It is Indira Gandhi or Narendra Modi, two diverse ends of the Indian political spectrum ,neither nurture leaders .They only have sub-ordinates and followers .The Congress is already facing the repercussions ,the BJP will do so over time.
Highly individualistic leadership with an over centralised administration has it’s own pitfalls . When the going is good it is very good, but when it is bad it is worse .There is much in common between the two,except that the instinct to command and control is more heightened in Modi.
If Indira had to battle hard to neutralize the powerful ’syndicate’ within the Congress comprising Morarji Desai .Sanjivva Reddy, S. Nijalingappa, S.K.Patil and Atulya Ghosh , Modi found it comparatively easier to create his ‘margadarshak mandal’(advisory council) comprising L.K.Advani ,Murli Manohar Joshi and…

Modi And The Media


Humankind craves freedom ,power demands servility .

The tussle between the two creates mental fissures and physical fragmentation .When creeping intolerance and crawling ambition intrude to usurp free mind spaces ,the media which seeks to protect the right to project the wrong is a sitting duck target .It ,nevertheless ,has its own defence mechanism ,evolved over ages of dealing with both subtle and crass attacks on its own turf. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not but the battle continues.
This is most glaringly manifested in the changes that have taken place in news coverage and governmental access to the media in the country’s capital ,New Delhi. Narendra Modi’s advent on the scene as Prime Minister has marked a surgical departure in the manner of government news coverage.
In the past whenever governments changed at the Centre ,including the BJP led NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, there were at best some recalibrations .If the BJP came to power, vet…