The second coming of Arvind Kejriwal

It was Dec of 2013 when a relatively unknown politician by name Arvind Kejriwal, emerged with a bang on India’s political firmament when he defeated long-time Congress veteran Sheila Dixit at the polls and went on to become the Chief Minister of Delhi.

His 49 days in power as CM saw the corrupt scurrying for cover. Rishwat Khori was a thing of the past as all bribe takers were terrified of being recorded in the act. Donations for schools came to a screeching halt. Government hospitals were transformed as medicines and staff re-appeared miraculously. The price of water and electricity were substantially reduced. The water mafia was gone. The JaL board was cleansed of its corrupt staff. The anti-corruption bureau was rejigged to weed out the compromised elements. Under Kejriwal, the everyday life of the poor was dramatically improved as they no longer had to worry about policemen and other everyday extortionists. But alas it was all too good to last.

To read the rest of this post please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

Will Delhi be the BJP’s Waterloo?

“Modi has become the PM because of the unity of Hindus. To maintain their majority, every Hindu family should produce 10 kids.” “No skirts as uniform for school girls any more; no jeans and mobile phones for girls; and item girls in films should be branded as prostitutes.” “Disabled people are God’s mistake.” And a message to the Khans of Bollywood: “Convert if you love your wives” – This is just a sampling of  pronouncements from the BJP and its supporters at various levels since coming to power.

If everything described above isn’t enough, these days, sycophants are arbitrarily appointed to positions of power. “Modi, my action hero,” says new Censor Board chief. How can we be serious about such individuals being sincere custodians of art, culture, and cinema?

To read the rest of the post please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

Barack Obama – The morning after

With India aspiring for growth and looking to build smart cities, roads, bridges, infrastructure, power plants, etc., the country presents a great opportunity for American businesses. Obama’s visit was essentially a giant sales pitch to firm up business opportunities for American companies.

Likewise, there is plenty of opportunity for Indian businesses in the US market as reaffirmed by the “who’s who” of Indian industry queuing up for darshan of the US President.

Strategically, from an American perspective, a vibrant and growing India can act as a counterweight to China in the region and come in handy with regard to Pakistan and Afghanistan as the instability in these countries persists.

To read the rest of this post, please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

Kiran Bedi Saga: BJP’s Impending Delhi Dilemma

Kiran Bedi has pulled off the impossible. The supposed supercop has parachuted her way into the Delhi BJP leadership slot after waiting on the sidelines and intermittently showering praises at the party leadership from time to time for years. With the elections round the corner the time for courtship is over and its time to jump into the dirty world of politics whose sworn enemy she once was. Her Krane landing has been so immaculate that the BJP top brass has in addition to offering her the CM post in advance even agreed to cut down Modi’s face time on the Delhi campaign in order to make room for her (sort of an icing on the cake). Talk about having the cake and eating it too with icing on it!

Today, there is no BJP. Mr. Modi is the party. So Mr. Modi stepping aside from the limelight is a huge concession. Surely, this can’t be a long lasting arrangement since the BJP swears by a Modi everywhere policy.

To read the rest of his post please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

Existential crisis grips many: Signs that you are next in line to join the BJP

It appears that the BJP has discretely issued a memo to many that it will soon be shutting its doors and the time to board the bus is running out. There seems to be no other explanation for the flurry of people joining the BJP and others queueing up outside its doors. If you are one of those in politics or dabbling at its fringes and don’t know where you are headed, here are a few signs that will help you discover that you are headed the BJP way.

You were a part of the Anna movement. By virtue of this, you landed several times on TV debates and yelled and screamed but had little of substance to say. Nevertheless you are a known face – famous for being famous. But now, you badly miss the limelight. With the Anna movement gone, you have nowhere to turn. You are not a mass leader by any stretch of imagination.  You have antagonized the AAP leadership and your are of little value to most other political parties. You take stock of your USP and think “if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”

To read the rest of this article please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

The BJP’s high-stakes Delhi gamble

The BJP launched PM Modi the other day into the Delhi campaign in order to resurrect its fast sinking hopes in the upcoming Delhi elections. The PM reverted back to the familiar themes that the BJP think-tank had effectively conjured up for the Lok Sabha elections to counter AAP – bhagoda, Naxalites, governance, dharna, etc.

This is an unusual step for the PM who has thusfar tried to remain above the fray, so to speak. Even when the loony fringe of the BJP has gone to town with a series of crazy proclamations, the PM has maintained a stony silence. But here he was, mudslinging in Delhi politics.

To red the rest of this post please visit the Economic Times website where it was first published.

 

How AAP is taking on BJP with innovative ideas

The Aam Aadmi party has an uphill battle on its hands. It is fighting the BJP and the fast disappearing Congress in the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi. The BJP has everything going for it in terms of resources. Bottomless deep pockets, a PM who is still basking in the aftermath of the marketing blitzkrieg of “ache din” from the 2014 elections, a media that is too terrified to ask tough questions and prefers to play along and support the BJP to the hilt.

If there is one thing that even the worst critics of the Aam Aadmi party would admit, it is that the party has brought a rare sense of creativity to politics. Its fund-raising process, its candidate selection process, and its transparent style of operation have all been widely appreciated. As the party that has previously been in power, the AAP could easily raise funds through the tried and tested approach of Indian politics, where donations are collected upfront in lieu of favors when in power. But the party has chosen not to do so. The former Chief Election Commissioner recently pointed out, “Only 20 per cent of the source of funding to any political party is known.” In this environment, there is something to be said for a party that lists every donation/donor on its website.

To read the rest of the article please visit the Economic Times website where t was first published.