Heads of our soldiers are being cut but we are feeding their prime minister chicken biryani. This country is ruled by weak leaders,” Narendra Modi speech in May 2013.

“Mr Prime Minister — No dialogue over dead bodies. Please cancel your meeting with Nawaz Sharif,” Sushma Swaraj tweet in September 2013.

News channels always face a ‘dharam sankat’ when Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi speak at the same time. In the last few years the tendency has been to relentlessly focus the cameras on Mr Modi while the Congress leader’s speech is routinely muted or becomes a deferred telecast in what might be seen as an accurate reflection of the two leaders’ contrasting political fortunes.

It’s that time of the year: The bells are ringing and carols are being sung. Since this is my last column of 2015, maybe it’s time to look ahead to a New Year with our netas’ resolutions for 2016, without malice but with a bit of fun (why should edit page columns always be stodgy!).

A year is an eternity in Indian politics: a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi could literally walk on water. His remarkable 2014 general election win had given him the confidence and the mandate to push ahead with a dramatic reform agenda if he so desired.

In a wonderful television series on the great boxing fights, Joe Frazier is asked on his legendary match-ups with Mohammed Ali. “I guess it wasn’t just about boxing, it was personal, we just didn’t like each other,” is Frazier’s candid reply.

What is true of Ali versus Frazier could well be said about politics in this country at the moment. Narendra Modi versus Sonia Gandhi is a battle of political heavyweights that is sharply personal as much as it is a clash of party leaderships.

It was a picture that perhaps best captured the angularities of Indian secularism: AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien in a topi even as Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and vice-president Hamid Ansari preferred to be bare-headed. The occasion was an iftaar party organised by the Delhi chief minister. Perhaps Kejriwal and O’Brien (an Anglo-Indian from Kolkata) had taken their cue from Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who once said, “To run the country, you have to take everyone along ... at times, you will have to wear a topi, at times a tilak.”

The only thing certain about Indian politics is its constant edge of uncertainty. If in the summer of 2010, you had suggested that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would hurtle to an ignominious defeat in the 2014 general election, you would have been a certified lunatic. The Congress was so convinced by its seeming invincibility that it quickly lost the plot. Today, amidst the 365-day celebration blitzkrieg, the Narendra Modi-led government's position seems equally unassailable: a victory in the 2019 general election appears very likely.

In an age where a film is declared a hit or a flop on the first weekend’s performance, politicians too are finding their ratings being judged in a compressed timeframe. Narendra Modi was elected prime minister for five years, but he has already had to go through a series of early tests: 100 days, 200 and then 300 days, now his impending first year anniversary have all become occasions for the media to rate his performance. It is almost as if he is facing a constant agni-pariksha.

Call it "tyranny of distance” or simply the nature of the Delhi-centric 24x7 “national” media, but a day after Arvind Kejriwal’s famous win, the BJP swept the local body elections in Assam — only there were no bold headlines or screaming breaking news to announce the results.

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