Long before Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, there was Sikandar Bakht ...
The year 2014 has been the year of the lotus. The indefatigable Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine has taken the BJP to a spectacular victory at the Centre, won Maharashtra and Haryana and seem poised to win Jharkhand too. It is only when you cross the Banihal pass and reach the banks of the Dal that the blossoming lotus seems to wilt a bit. The BJP may have pushed for ‘Mission 44’ in Jammu and Kashmir but this could well be one bridge too far, at least in this election in the Kashmir Valley.
A simple tweet, all of 140 characters, can be hazardous to one’s health as I have discovered to my cost yet again. Last Sunday, as Narendra Modi went in for his first Cabinet expansion, I tweeted: “Big day for my Goa. Two GSBs, both talented politicians, become full cabinet ministers. Saraswat pride!” I was referring to the induction of Manohar Parrikar and Suresh Prabhu in the Union Cabinet.
If Narendra Modi’s triumphant visit to the United States was marked by a series of photo-ops, two stood out: the first was in New York’s Central Park where the Indian prime minister made a visit to a high-profile citizens’ festival ...
Indian voters have a knack of surprising political pundits. Just a few weeks ago, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah could do no wrong; now, after a series of byelection reverses, the Modi-Shah duo is being blamed for losing the Midas touch. Neither is the euphoria nor the harsh criticism valid: No two elections are the same and the extreme responses that accompany every election result are perhaps uncalled for.
We live in an age where a Hindi film is declared a hit if it has a strong opening on its first weekend: The era of the silver jubilee is well and truly behind us.Politics too, is experiencing a similar compression in time. So, Narendra Modi's first 100 days are already being seen as a verdict on his government. A 100 days is just over 14 weeks.
A few months ago, I went for lunch to the new Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital. The first look was impressive: marble flooring, bronze statuettes, spiral staircases, you could have been in the lobby of a five star hotel. This was no staid government accommodation and the extravagance seemed to confirm reports of how the local contractor had inflated the construction costs well beyond the original sanctioned budget.
He is an expert in turning a lie into the truth. It is the BJP’s principle to divide the nation and rule.
Wherever the BJP government is in power, there is more corruption. Modi has started thinking that by promoting a few industrialists and a constant presence in the media, he can take over the nation.
He does not understand that 70% of India is rural and this is not going to affect them. He is not only poor in calculation, but poor in history’.
Narendra Modi today claims to derive inspiration from Sardar Patel and Swami Vivekananda even if his original icon was the long-serving RSS chief Guru Golwalkar. Patel and Vivekananda are natural choices for the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate: with Patel, there is the instant strongman from Gujarat connect, while Vivekananda gives him the image of an ‘inclusive’ Hindu nationalist. The truth is Modi’s real role model in the 2014 election is someone very different: Former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Nitin Gadkari isn’t quite known to mind his language. A few weeks after he took over as BJP president, he expressed himself with typical candour to a group of journalists: “I know you must be wondering who is this bloody ‘mota’ guy from nowhere. I want to tell all of you I am on a mission, not here for commission!” Three years later, those words may well come to haunt him as he is slowly pushed into exile from the Delhi durbar.