OPINION
GENERAL ELECTIONS 2019
What will be the outcome?
16.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
What will be the outcome?



WITH THE OUTCOME of the general elections just a week away, and voting to be completed in just 59 seats, all eyes are on the performances of various parties and formation of the new government.

It has been a long and hard fought elections with political leaders putting in their best efforts. The seven phase elections spread over a month and a half has left the country guessing over the outcome. As a senior political analyst said, unlike previous elections, this one is the toughest to predict.

There is hardly any one who is willing to put down a figure for various parties and alliance partners. While there are differences over which party would emerge as the single largest party, there is unanimity on the point that it would be alliances which would decide the formation of the next government.

Certain significant aspects that stand out in these elections which had not been seen in any previous elections have made these elections unique and path breaking. 

For instance, till late seventies or till the end of the Emergency, it was a one sided game with the Congress dominating and with a clear face for prime minister’s post. Then came an era of coalitions with no face for the top post. Thus we had a series of leaders who became prime ministers but were never projected as such during election campaigns. These included Morarji Desai, VP Singh, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. The exceptions were Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee who was projected as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP during this period.
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Modi led his party and the coalition to a hands down victory and he has since then sought to build his image as an invincible leader. Instead of the slogan of "BJP BJP”, what was popularised was "Modi, Modi”. All this has led to building up of a personality cult around him.
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The big change came in 2014 when the BJP and its alliance partners projected Narendra Modi as an undisputed prime ministerial candidate while the Congress went without a face as it remained undecided on whether to project Rahul Gandhi as its candidate for the post. 

Modi led his party and the coalition to a hands down victory and he has since then sought to build his image as an invincible leader. Not just the alliance partners, even the BJP and RSS too were made to take a back seat. Even Modi himself chose to address himself in the third person. Instead of saying I did this or that, he would say Modi did this and that. Instead of the slogan of "BJP BJP”, what was popularised was "Modi, Modi”. All this has led to building up of a personality cult around him.

Even these elections are being contested by the BJP and its alliance partners with Modi as undisputed leader. The Congress and its alliance partners and even the members of mahagathbandhan have not come out clearly on their prime ministerial candidate. While SP and BSP are wishing for Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and other regional chieftains are nursing their own ambitions. The Congress too has not come out officially with its prime ministerial candidate but now it has become more or less clear that its President Rahul Gandhi would take up the post if Congress gets sufficient numbers to stake its claim with the help of its allies. His acceptability has certainly increased over the last few months.
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Right from ‘pappu’ versus ‘feku’ to ‘chowkidar chor hai’ versus dynastic politics, the standards have fallen to the lowest level that can be imagined.
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Another important aspect of the elections has been the divisiveness it has generated in the society. The differences have never been sharper and the political rhetoric never so acerbic as it was during the current campaign. Right from ‘pappu’ versus ‘feku’ to ‘chowkidar chor hai’ versus dynastic politics, the standards have fallen to the lowest level that can be imagined. 

In the process the real issues concerning the people have taken a back stage. We have the ‘dynasty’, Modi, Balakot strikes, alleged wrongs in the past, religion and caste politics as the major issues instead of getting economy back on the rails, generating employment, getting investments, steps to help the crucial farm sector, encouraging trade and enterprises and developing infrastructure.

The results would decide whether the country would be run either through coalitions providing for protecting the interests as well as needs of the diversity that India is or through creating a uniform system moving towards presidential form of government.

As the country gives its verdict, drawing lessons from the past and placing faith in the  hands of elected leaders, the prayer in the hearts of all citizens should be to take the country to new heights of development.

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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ELECTION ISSUES BEING DEBATED NOW
Why is Modi getting so insecure?
09.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
Why is Modi getting so insecure?



EVEN AS WE are in the middle of the election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, one aspect that stands out starkly is the issues that are being talked about to influence the voters.

None of the major political parties are focusing on the real issues which directly affect the common man. The poll rhetoric undoubtedly has touched the lowest possible levels and it is turning out to be the most bitter campaign ever since the independence of the country.

Perhaps it is because the stakes are too high in these elections but the kind of language being used is cheap and even vulgar. Can anyone imagine Atal Behari Vajpayee or Lal Krishan Advani or Manmohan Singh attacking political opponents with such harsh words?

But besides the choice of words, it is the issues being raised that are a cause of worry. Instead of talking of the developmental issues and successes of the government, prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are focusing on ‘parivar’. They have been placing all emphasis on the alleged failures of the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and have crossed all levels of decency with belittling reference to Rajiv Gandhi’s death. He was was tragically assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil militants through a suicide bomb attack. What was particularly jarring was the manner in which the remark was made : that the one who was touted as Mr Clean ended his life as Bhrashtachari number one. .
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Indian voter is watching closely. The literacy rate may still be comparatively low but it has shown its political acumen in the past.
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Apparently the attempt is to make it a contest between Modi and Nehru-Gandhi family rather than a contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

There is hardly any reference to what they called the "biggest economic reform” of demonetisation or the benefits of the GST or even other developmental works taken by the government. There is no reference to the proposed bullet trains or Swacchh Ganga projects or even speeding up construction of highways etc.

Congress too seems obsessed with the "chowkidar chor hai” slogan and has been hammering it day in and day out. The language used by some of its leaders, as also leaders of other opposition parties, is also condemnable. 

These parties, for unknown reasons, are not emphasising on the various failures of the government. They are not concentrating on loss of lakhs of jobs or mounting inflation or farming distress or failure or the government to bring back black money and those accused of cheating banks and fleeing abroad.
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Can anyone imagine Atal Behari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh attacking political opponents with such harsh words?
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The bitter campaign has vitiated the poll atmosphere and unfortunately the Election Commission of India, which has vast powers at its disposal, has proved to be ineffective. It has let off several leaders, including Modi, without even a warning despite provocative comments. Even though it is known that one of the two Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa, has been giving dissenting views on the decisions taken by the Commission, his voice has little meaning because the Commission works with the rule of majority.

Unfortunately the electoral mudslinging is being directed to Bofors versus Rafale deals rather than the corruption at the grassroots level. Common people continue to suffer from every day corruption despite attempts to introduce transparency and digitalisation. The fact is that there is little impact. Some would say the situation has worsened because higher amounts are demanded in the name of "higher risks”. 

The various political parties making big promises and announcing subsistence allowances are not talking about the economy or how will these parties generate funds for the projects being promised by them.

Indian voter is watching closely. The literacy rate may still be comparatively low but it has shown its political acumen in the past. The voters have in the past given over 414 seats to the Congress but had also reduced it to 44. Similarly it had at one time given just two seats to the BJP and had raised it to 282 last time. What the voters have in store for various parties this time would be known only on May 23. 

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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Comment by: Sahib Singh

Congress is raising real problems of the country in which Modi govt is failed. It is PM who uses bad and baseless language and raising issues which have no concern with the peoples of India.

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THE QUESTION SUPREME
What happened in that room? Cast your vote.
08.05.19 -
What happened in that room? Cast your vote.



Your politician is not talking about it, even when he is talking incessantly about issues that matter to you. But why are you silent? 

S Pal 
 
A WOMAN EMPLOYEE of the Supreme Court, who was in direct touch with the Chief Justice of India, thanks to her job description, accused him of sexual harassment. There was a long history to her allegations and some of the instances and evidences she provided were so shocking that the Supreme Court was forced to set up an in-house committee of three Supreme Court judges.

The committee started investigations which were closed to the public. The woman deposed for three days and then walked out, because her requests for a lawyer or legal assistance in the form of a support person were denied. 

What do you think is the power symmetry when three judges of the Supreme Court of India sit inside a room, a victim of sexual harassment sits across the table, and the three subject her to questioning?

A person needs a lawyer in a court even in a simple case of theft of a bicycle, or a minor street scuffle with a vegetable vendor. When there is a prospect of three judges of the Supreme Court questioning you, do you think you can survive without a lawyer?

Even a senior advocate of the Supreme Court or a former judge, if ever put through a session of grilling in a dock, would need the services of a lawyer, and saying so is a no-brainer. 

The in-house committee of three SC judges denied her a lawyer, did not permit a support person to be present, did not explain the procedure it planned to follow and has now refused to give her a copy of its final report as per which it has found no substance in the woman's charges of sexual harassment.

However, it has stated that it will give a copy of the report to the person who was accused, that is, the Chief Justice of India.

All of this happened during days when India was in the throes of election campaign to elect a Parliament and when every political party has promised in its manifesto to deliver the moon to the country's women.

And yet, not a single politician has taken up this issue. An instance as serious as a woman employee being allegedly sexually harassed by the Chief Justice of India; three top judges of the apex court investigating into the matter; and the matter hitting the national newspaper and television headlines, has not made it all an issue political enough to figure in the campaign speeches of politicians who are making special appeals to women to vote for them.
Not a single woman politician, including the devoted-to-god-for-life Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, has said a word about the entire episode.

Now, compare this episode to what is happening to the Joe Biden-for-President campaign in the US. Biden, who served as Vice President with Barack Obama and is one of the most widely respected politicians in the United States, has been accused by seven women so far of making them uncomfortable, in some cases with unwelcome touching, though none has accused him of any more vigorous assault.

Caitlyn Caruso, 22, said when she was an undergrad student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and met Biden, he placed his hand on her thigh while she squirmed in her seat to make clear she was uncomfortable. Biden then gave her a hug and held it 'just a little bit too long,' she told the The New York Times. 

A former Nevada politician Lucy Flores had accused him of kissing the back of her head at a campaign rally five years ago.

Amy Lappos said the incident between her and Biden at a 2009 political fundraiser 'wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head.' 

D.J. Hill, 59, met Biden at a Minneapolis fundraiser in 2012 with her husband and when the couple were posing for a photo with Biden, he allegedly put his hand on her shoulder and ran it down her back. 

In 2015, Biden was castigated for massaging the shoulders of Ash Carter's wife when her husband was being sworn in as secretary of defence. Stephanie Carter later wrote in a newspaper that Biden was merely 'a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful'. 

Now, simply compare the charges of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India and those against Joe Biden in the United States of America. 

The entire political class, right from President Donald Trump, is talking about the women's charges against Joe Biden. Of course, Trump is no great upholder of any ethical values. He has not been accused of having even an iota of respect for women. His conduct in the past, and the Hollywood Access Tapes should be enough to trigger his immediate arrest and trial, but that is not the point right now.

The point is that we are dealing with politicians in India who have now mustered up the courage to not even touch an issue when it is happening right there in the townsquare in broad daylight, and even then they think it is alright to seek our votes.

And we find it normal.

We are not shrieking: "But sir, why are you not saying anything about this woman? Why are you silent on the in-house committee of the Supreme Court? Why are you not telling us if three judges of the Supreme Court have done the right thing by conducting the inquiry in this fashion? Do you think it was alright to not allow the woman the assistance of a lawyer or a support person even when she is being questioned by three judges of the Supreme Court?"

This, and a thousand other questions. 

Including whether or not it was true that the Chief Justice of India told the junior woman employee to wish him "Good Morning” over WhatsApp every morning, that he would call her into his office room, and make her show him her phone and make her delete the WhatsApp messages between them, that when she wore an orange kurta and dupatta to work on the first day of Navratri, the CJI told her she was "looking pretty good today,” or that he asked her "What can you do for me?”, or whether he really slid his hand from the back of her head, along her back to her hipline, till her lower back, and then pulled both her cheeks, whether the CJI, as she alleged in her letter sent to all the judges of the Supreme Court, really "put his arms around my waist from the front" and said, "I want this from you.”? 

The cover letter of the affidavit that the woman sent to 22 judges on April 19. 
 
We needed the answers to these questions. We needed to know the circumstances in which she and her kin lost their jobs, whether the Delhi Police really did what she has alleged it did, whether her legs were tied all through the night. We need to know whether the wife of the Chief Justice of India really asked her to rub her nose on the ground. The former junior woman employee of the Supreme Court had detailed in her complaint that Naresh Solanki, the SHO of Tilak Marg police station, tried to engineer a truce between her and the CJI, and Solanki discussed it with her and her husband and then took her to the CJI’s residence on the night of January 11, 2019 where the wife of the Chief Justice of India asked her to 'seek forgiveness’. 

"In the presence of the SHO and Mr. Deepak Jain, Mrs. Gogoi told me "naak ragad ke jao (rub your nose on the ground),” the woman said in her affidavit. She also narrated that she obliged. 

We must know if it now takes only an SHO to effect a compromise between the Chief Justice of India and anyone who falls foul of him.

One can easily make out a case for institutional probity, for the need for preserving the integrity of the institution, for the issues related to power asymmetry, for the 3-judge panel found wanting while investigating such a grave episode. 

But this is more than that.

This is our politician telling us he or she is not bothered by the goings on, that we should learn to make these fine distinctions of institutional response and the rough and tumble of politics. 

This puts us in the room with the victim and a powerful man, where we decide whether to stay silent and not ask any questions about what is happening. 

By not making noise for our right to know the whole truth, we are entering a compact with the powers that be - that we wish to know the truth but if the institution is not being transparent and we are fed a version of the truth after an investigation which is not very transparent, we will either accept it, or we will be a little agnostic about it but we will not raise hell to know what really happened inside that room, why the woman was sacked, why were her kin arrested, and a thousand other whys and hows. 
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Our silence and the silence of our politicians and the lack of our sense of incredulity over the story unfolding so far simply means we really do not care if this country has a credible mechanism to investigate whether the Chief Justice of India might do all this to a woman working in close proximity to him. 

You are in that room. Take a decision. 

Either be satisfied, because the CJI now has a clean chit, and you have immense faith in our glorious institution, and you know that three independent judges trained in maintaining objectivity and pursuing nothing but the truth, wherever it takes them, have found "no substance in the allegations." 

Or raise hell.

You must vote. Everyone in the country is telling you this, in any case.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 





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If Modi is defeated, what happens next?
07.05.19 - Jawed Naqvi
If Modi is defeated, what happens next?



IT IS DISTINCTLY possible that Narendra Modi won’t be the next prime minister, and Rahul Gandhi is not the only one saying that. Of course, there are two more suspenseful laps to go before the May 23 results come in.

As Rahul and others have guessed, neither Balakot has worked for Modi, nor the blasting of a satellite. The Hindutva campaign is clearly missing the 2014 communal frenzy of Muzaffarnagar, which single-handedly delivered the lavish victory to Modi in the vote-rich northern states.

On another front, the opposition has thwarted any potential relief to Modi from Masood Azhar’s global indictment. Swift comparisons came in with the Mumbai terror attacks when China took a mere 14 days (during the Manmohan Singh tenure) to endorse a similar measure against Hafiz Saeed.

Rahul Gandhi rarely fails to point out that defeat and desperation are writ clearly on Modi’s face. A ‘non political’ interview was staged with a movie star, in which the leader of a billon-plus people spoke about ways to eat mangoes. When even that didn’t wash, his party began to hurl street language at the rivals. Modi didn’t spare Rajiv Gandhi’s memory, screaming to a rally that the assassinated former prime minister had died as a thief.
----------
Assuming that Modi will not get the numbers, what happens next? And this is where Rahul Gandhi worries his many supporters.
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The outrageous theatrics and angry hand-slapping were anticipated in an old verse. "Lagey moonh bhi chirhaaney detay detay gaaliyan saahab/ Zubaan bigri to bigri thi, khabar leejeay dahan bigra.” (What began with cursing was bad enough, but now you’re making faces too/ The visage looks terribly contorted, and that’s not good for you.)

Suppose this is as good as it looks for Modi. "Your days are numbered,” Rahul responded with a "hug and love” to the prime minister’s slanderous speech. The duel is on regardless of the merit Imran Khan sees in Modi’s right-wing bearings. Khan’s views about right-wingers come from a single experience of what Nixon told Mao in Beijing. For the record, Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto delivered the Shimla Agreement despite their brinkmanship. Manmohan Singh was tantalisingly close to clinching a Kashmir deal when, for better or worse, Gen Musharraf was derailed.

Does Khan even realise that his assumption on who can solve the Kashmir tangle implies that he too is a right-winger, which he probably isn’t though many of his Pakistani critics live with precisely that fear?

Assuming that Modi will not get the numbers, what happens next? And this is where Rahul Gandhi worries his many supporters. He has evolved into an impressive orator, and his party has produced an election manifesto that would have impressed Nehru.

His pacesetter sister Priyanka Gandhi speaks more simply though and thus with greater impact. Her video of playing casually with poisonous snakes after a chance meeting with a snake charmer in her mother’s Rae Bareli constituency, and her impish proclamation that her daughter was equally at ease with such minor adventures, should make Modi’s claim of playing with crocodiles as a child look overcooked if also opaque, like his secret academic certificates.
 

Why is Rahul a worry? He says he respects critical players who are fighting Narendra Modi in the elections, but he wouldn’t forge alliances with them, to deleterious effect, some would insist, because the Congress had to pursue its own ideology.

If the horse befriends the grass, the saying goes, what would it eat? That’s sound logic. But what is that illusion of an ideology he says he is wedded to? And how is that ideology different from say that of Mamata Banerjee or Arvind Kejriwal, Mayawati or Akhilesh Yadav and even with the communists against whom he has set up candidates while seeing them as ardent opponents of Modi?
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If Rahul Gandhi does make it as prime minister, where would he locate his ideology between Nehru and Gandhi, who didn’t always concur on key issues?
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And how has that ideology bonded with a decades-old former rival like Chandrababu Naidu but not others?

If Rahul Gandhi does make it as prime minister, assuming that the Congress gets more votes than the rest of the opposition groups together, and he is able to outbid Dalit leader Mayawati as a serious candidate, where would he locate his ideology between Nehru and Gandhiji, who didn’t always concur on key issues?

He could, of course, argue that the times have changed and India has grown, even galloped. Currently, the Congress could be construed as a party that has learnt to lean heavily on a buccaneer class of mercantile capitalists, a far cry from Japan’s post-Meiji industrial entrepreneurs in ethics and grit.

Is it industry to get a bandwidth machine from abroad, buy air corridors with bribes, and import mobile phones from China to outbid the struggling public-owned telecom body by getting a pliable government to throttle it? To Rahul’s credit, he has slammed crony capitalism throughout the election campaign, but going by the experience of Nehru, Indira Gandhi and his own father, good intentions can come to naught if a retinue of mediocre colleagues, hangers-on and poor advisers get the better of the leaders.

Gandhiji called national tycoons the trustees of new India. Nehru jailed Ramkrishna Dalmiya, the biggest of the trustees, for fraud, Indira Gandhi nationalised their banks, Rajiv Gandhi warned them to get off the backs of the Congress workers. But Manmohan Singh co-opted them as visionaries of his new India. He declared tribespeople fighting for land and forest rights as the biggest internal security threat to India. He described as foreign agents poor villagers protesting a scary nuclear power unit in their neighbourhood.

Rahul should visit Lucknow and see how the BJP has hounded the eminently multicultural and secular family of the Raja of Mahmudabad, and the Raja’s wife, daughter of Jagat Mehta, Vajpayee’s foreign secretary, who now live in fear, condemned jointly by the Congress and the BJP as enemies of the state. Let’s hear of Rahul’s ideology from Rahul himself and see how it fares against others fighting to defeat Modi, for a just and equitable future.

  
The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi. Courtesy: dawn.com
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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LOSING THE PERCEPTION GAME
Congress bent upon scoring self goals
01.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
Congress bent upon scoring self goals



THE CONGRESS, which has ruled the country for nearly 60 years of its independence, appears to be suffering from a death wish. The way the party had been scoring self goals in the recent past may be sounding music for the BJP but would be putting even die hard fans of the Congress in a dilemma. 

The latest in the long list of its follies is to keep the country on the tenterhooks about whether the most charismatic Gandhi family scion Priyanka Gandhi would be contesting against BJP’s icon prime minister Narendra Modi or not from Varanasi. The party let the suspense build over a month ever since Priyanka herself raked up the issue when asked whether she would contest from her mother’s constituency Rai Bareli. "Why not from Varanasi”, she had countered.

This fuelled a debate and led to speculations that Modi might be given a credible fight although few expected that he would lose.

Modi had contested from Vadodra in his home state of Gujarat and the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in the previous elections. He had won with handsome margins from both the constituencies but had given up his Vadodra seat and decided to contest only the Varanasi seat this time.
------
There is no doubt that the BJP and Modi may be overdoing it but the Congress and Rahul Gandhi are completely losing out in the perception game.
------

With the indication given by Priyanka there had been great expectations of a mega contest. Even if she had lost the election, which she would have in any case, she wouldn’t have lost much but the nation’s attention would have focused on that constituency and may be would have forced Modi to spend some more time in the constituency. An unexpected defeat for Modi, on the other hand, could have been disastrous for the BJP.

Yet she chose to chicken out and gave a wrong signal to her party workers. Her plea that the party decided against her contesting the seat as it would have bogged her down to Varanasi or that she wouldn’t have found enough time to campaign in the other 40 constituencies under her charge is absurd. Surely she and other party leaders would have known it before she ignited the speculations. Her decision has given the signal that the Congress does not have the stomach to fight the BJP.

But this is not the only act of hara kiri that the Congress has been indulging in. Another recent example is how the party and its leaders have hurt themselves while dealing with the contempt of court notice of the Supreme Court. The highest court had taken objections to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that it had endorsed his claim that "chowkidar chor hai” which, of course, the court had never done.

Instead of straight away apologising for his statement which he claimed he had given in the heat of the elections, he and his advisers kept justifying the statement. Even a junior lawyer knows that the courts are very strict in dealing with contempt cases and expect an unconditional apology. Yet, despite the Congress having a battery of senior lawyers such as Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, it went on with conditional regrets. What a sad state of affairs that the Congress president had to revise his affidavit thrice.

------
The congress president is also virtually missing from TV screens and has not given any major interview after his disastrous interview with Arnab Goswami
------

Besides these recent blunders, the Congress appears to be lacking a proper strategy and hunger for victory. It let go a major chance of taking on the BJP by not making enough efforts to form a mahagathbandhan. It should have taken the initiative to tie up with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly it was not pro active in forming alliances with other parties. It also could not reach any agreement with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi despite talking about it for long.

The congress president is also virtually missing from TV screens and has not given any major interview after his disastrous interview with Arnab Goswami in the run up to the 2014 elections. Even then he was ill advised to give an interview to a man whose political views and support were well known even then and is now an unabashed votary of Modi. 

The BJP, on the other hand, has been finding innovative means to keep its face on TV screens and in other media. The ideas include interview to famous Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and selective interviews to friendly media perhaps with the condition that they won’t ask inconvenient questions. As if that was not enough, the party even came up with a fully devoted TV channel called Namo TV.

There is no doubt that the BJP and Modi may be overdoing it but the Congress and Rahul Gandhi are completely losing out in the perception game.
 

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




[1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 37 [next]1-5 of 184


Comment by: jessy johnson

Are you interested to selling one of your k1dney for a good amount of $800,000 USD in India pls kindly Contact us now on our email: as we are looking for k1dney donor, Very urgently who are group B,group A ,O ve and 0 ve. Interested person should contact us now.

DR JESSY JOHNSON

WhatsApp:+919667270992

contact us:+919205206332

WhatsApp:+919667270992
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FDOFKI

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