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Congress Zinda Hai!

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #INC #congressparty

I revive a question that’s been asked repeatedly in the last seven years: is the Congress dead or alive? On a tv programme, soon after the 2019 elections, pollster turned politician Yogendra Yadav told me with unusual bluntness: “I think the Congress should die..” Predictably, Yogendra’s remarks drew much controversy.. Congress leaders were unsurprisingly angry at an obituary being proposed for their party. This week, the debate has been revived by TMC leader and WB chief minister Mamta Banerjee remarking: ‘There is no UPA now..’ an indication that a Congress-led opposition alliance was non-existent in contemporary politics.

Khela Hobe Part 2!

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #mamataofficial #prashantkishor

This week, we are going to talk about khela hobe politics part 2 and try and understand the master plan of TMC leader Mamta Banerjee as she looks to expand her national footprint and emerge as a challenger to PM Modi in 2024. In the last few weeks in particular, and in the last few days in fact, Mamta Banerjee has been on what is best described as an acquisition spree. Her latest acquisition is in Meghalaya where 12 of 17 Cong MLAs led by former CM Mukul Sangma have written to speaker asking to be recognised as the TMC. This comes at a time when Mamta herself was in Delhi, didn’t meet Sonia Gandhi but met a range of other politicians including BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramaniam Swamy, and got former test cricketer turned BJP MP turned Congman Kirti AZad, the former JDU MP Pawan Verma and former Haryana Cong chief Ashok Tanwar to join her.

Riot After Riot

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #amravativiolence #tripuraviolence

Trouble started in Amravati last Friday when the Raza academy, a Sunni Muslim group headquartered out of south-central Mumbai’s congested Mohammed Ali Road area, led processions across many towns like Nanded, Malegaon and Amravati in Maharashtra protesting against the violence in Tripura against Muslims. Now, the Raza Academy claims to be a literary and charitable organization: apart from publishing books on religion, it worked amongst Covid victims last year and also during the Kerala floods. But it also has led street protests as a devout ‘Islamic’ organization.

Why NaMo did DeMo!

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #NaMo #DeMo

This week, marked five years since arguably the most important decision taken by the Modi government and yet, the fifth anniversary of the decision to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee notes was not accompanied by the usual ‘band baja baarat’ high pitched propaganda. Remember this is a government that never misses an opportunity for astute event management: clearly it would seem that the Narendra Modi government has realized that there is nothing to ‘celebrate’ over demonetization and a large number of people do not wish to be reminded about the day when cash was suddenly criminalized, a day that only led to chaos and disruption in the financial system of a near unprecedented scale, a move that destroyed thousands and thousands of small businesses, especially in the vast informal sector.

Political Maha Tamasha

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #Crime-Politics #Mumbai #WankhedevsMalik

‘Tamasha’ is a great Maharashtra folk dance tradition that literally means ‘fun’ and ‘entertainment’. In the last few months, a political ‘tamasha’ is playing out in Maharashtra which would be almost farcical if it were not so disgustingly immoral. Allegations are flying thick and fast: from drugs to underworld links and from extortion rackets to benami transactions, its open season in Maharashtra’s tryst with crime and politics. A Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer who arrests the son of one of Hindi cinema’s biggest ever stars is now himself being investigated for fraud and extortion.

War Minus The Shooting

#IndVsPak #StraightBatWithRajdeep #War
‘War Minus the Shooting’ to reflect upon how an India-Pakistan cricket match has literally become, well, war minus the shooting. For years, I have been a great proponent of Indo-Pak cricket: as an unabashed cricket romantic, I have always believed that sport can build bridges beyond the boundary, can provide some hope and sanity in an increasingly hyper-polarised world. Now, after watching the events unfold over the last week since India played Pakistan in the T 20 world cup, I am beginning to have my serious doubts.

Fab India Politics!

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #fabindia

This week, I am going to speak on the politics of Fab India.. but first a disclosure.. I do know the Fab India family well: I have witnessed how the retail clothes company has grown remarkably across the country, how it has provided a much needed link between artisans and small rural businesses and urban consumers. Fab India’s clothes, its kurtas in particular have made ethnic wear accessible and enduring. It has now branched into many more home products.

The Politics of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #priyankagandhi

Today, as the title suggests I am going to comment on the much talked about politics of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra but first with a clarification and an apology. Seven years ago in November 2014, at a lit fest event around by book 2014: The Election that changed India, I was in conversation with Shobha De. One of the questions that Ms De asked me then was how I viewed the politics of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Remember this was 2014 when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had campaigned almost solely in the Gandhi family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli. My response to Shobha De was” ‘Politics is now ruthlessly competitive 24×7. There is no place for guest appearances or item numbers.’ Next day, in an article on the event, the headline of the newspaper DNA was: ‘Priyanka Gandhi does politics like an item girl.’

Lakhimpur: Real Life Mirzapur

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #lakhimpurkheri

This week has been dominated by two stories: one from rural UP, the other from Mumbai. The Mumbai story has all the elements of a Bollywood potboiler when the son of one of Hindi cinema’s biggest superstars is arrested in a drug bust. It’s easy to outrage over a story involving a VVIP brat: then when the VVIP brat’s father’s surname is Khan, it’s even easier to spend even more time outraging.

Dance Of Death

#rajdeepsardesai #straightbatwithrajdeep #AssamKilling

Lets start with a quiz question: how many of you know of Bijoy Shankar Bonia? My guess is that most of you don’t until I show you this photo. That right my friend, Bijoy Shankar Bonia is the photographer whose photo has gone viral, the photo of Bonia jumping, stomping and dancing over the dead body of a man who had just been shot dead by the Assam police during an eviction drive in Sipajhar in Assam’s Darrang district.