Modi rides the buzz for 100 days

If you do your research carefully, it should be easy to find one Modi-ism for each of the one hundred days gone by since he became the Prime Minister. While the election campaign saw marketing buzz with corporate gobbledygook like P4P, 4Ps etc., post-election they have made way for more expanded versions — “I am not Pradhan Mantri, I am Pradhan Sevak,” “Housing for all by 2022, “Sanitation for all by 2019,” “10-year moratorium on communal violence,” “Come, make in India,” “There is no red tape but red carpet in India,” etc.

To read the rest of the article please visit the Economic Times website.

Is the PMO India’s new Kremlin?

Shortly after the new government came to power at the center under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there were news reports about all official bureaucratic appointments being made by the Prime Ministers’s Office (PMO). In other words, ministers had little say in determining their staff. Prior to this, there were clear directives to ministers that they should not appoint relatives to their staff. Further, the PM met with the various bureaucrats and suggested to them that they should come to him should they have trouble executing their responsibilities. In short, by-passing the ministers in-charge of the various ministries was not just encouraged, the stage was set for it to be the norm.

To read the rest of the article please visit the Economic Times website.

“Out of the box” thinking in cricket and politics

M.S. Dhoni is faced with a selection dilemma as he leads his team into the second Test at Lords against England. The five bowler strategy failed at Trent Bridge because the pitch did not assist Stuart Binny’s medium pace while Jadeja failed to produce wickets. Thankfully for India, Binny justified his existence by playing a match-saving knock in the second innings of the first Test. Now the question facing Dhoni and his think tank is whether they should dump the five bowler strategy or simply stick to it for another Test before taking a call. They could swap Jadeja for Ashwin and still have the five bowler strategy. Alternately, they could drop both Jadeja and Binny and bring in Ashwin and Rohit Sharma as some experts seem to advise. 

To read the rest of the article visit the Economic Times website.

The BJP’s better mousetrap syndrome

When you present your business idea or plan to a venture capitalist, one of the first things they start to look for is an answer to a very basic question – “What is the new big idea here?” They will in all likelihood tell you that your idea is not scalable, it’s easy to do or that it takes too long to build, or that the market is not big enough to be exciting. Investors who have made up their mind not to invest in your venture have so many ways to turn you down. But at the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that you need an interesting idea to begin with to get investors excited.

To read the rest of the article please visit the Economic Times website.

Calling into question Modi’s leadership style

There is an online blitzkrieg of information glorifying and even deifying Modi. One of those stories that are in circulation is about the boy Narendra swimming across a crocodile infested river only to hoist a flag atop a temple on the other side! Today, the deification of Modi is happening instantaneously right in front of our eyes, thanks to a focused PR campaign fueled by raw money power. It leads us to believe that Modi is the panacea to all the ills of Indian society, that he will transform India into a super power, replicate the Gujarat model of development in all the other states, kickstart industrial growth, and turn India into the land of milk and honey. That the Gujarat model could be intrinsically flawed is being pointed out by feeble voices that are drowned amidst the din of the Hindu brigade calling for change. That Modi and Gujarat have a poor human rights record in comparison with the rest of India is conveniently glossed over. For the moment, however, let us assume that it’s all hunky-dory in Gujarat, and let us look at Modi’s leadership style that has been on display since the start of his quest for prime ministership.

 

To read the rest of the article pleas visit the Economic Times website

Open Source Politics – Making sense of the AAP phenomenon

The open source movement in the technology world has had significant impact on almost every aspect in the field – the Linux operating system and, more recently, the Android operating system being two leading examples. The open source approach involves sharing of the basic design or code in a collaborative environment where anyone can participate and contribute. Subsequent improvements and features help the development community push the technology further and ultimately benefit end-users. This approach attracts anyone and everyone who loves to get to involved, learn and try new things, and get recognized by their peers in the community.

While working within the community, the individuals involved might benefit by dreaming up new ideas built on these open source solutions or pick up consulting opportunities, teaching gigs, etc. But ultimately, it’s a community of developers that work together to progress technology in an open and transparent way. In short, it creates a fertile ground for new ideas, innovation, and out of the box thinking, unencumbered by commercial interests for the most part. In the process, it inspires an environment of healthy competition and somewhat selfless commitment to a cause.

Click here to read the rest of the article at the Economic Times website.

Is Arvind Kejriwal dangerous for India?

Who is more dangerous for India – Arvind Kejriwal or Narendra Modi? This is a question that India needs to answer. But a recent article titled ‘Arvind Kejriwal: The most dangerous man in India’ has ventured to supply a one-sided answer to this question. The title is as catchy as it is misleading if not subversive. The ensuing ‘analysis’ is sadly not borne out by facts but relies on obfuscation and rhetoric. The tragic outcome is that many pertinent facts have been buried beneath the rubble of unsubstantiated allegations and sinister accusations. On the whole the article is an anti-Kejriwal diatribe disguised as an intellectual treatise.

While conferring on Modi the respectable halo of a “firebrand Hindu nationalist”, the writer goes on to indulge in pure speculation and sweeping generalizations about Kejriwal and other AAP leaders.

Click here to read the rest of the article on the kafila website (where it was originally published).

Cleansing politics in the holy town of Haridwar

Haridwar on the Ganges is a town sacred to the Hindus. It comes as no surprise that both the Congress and the BJP are fighting tooth and nail to establish their supremacy in this Lok Sabha constituency.  Several others are also in the fray.

The BJP candidate for Haridwar is former Chief Minister, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who was forced to resign at the height of the anti-corruption movement when the BJP was desperate to take the high moral ground on corruption. But times have changed for the BJP: Yedurappa is back, Ram Vilas Paswan is an ally, and, not surprisingly, Nishank is the BJP candidate from Haridwar.

The Congress, on the other hand, prefers to stick to its tried and tested policy of family members getting party tickets. Not surprisingly, the party is fielding the wife of the incumbent Chief Minister, Harish Rawat, who in 2009 had won the Haridwar Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over one lakh votes.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Economic Times website.

Does India have to choose between the lesser of two evils?

If you read media reports, it seems like a foregone conclusion – Narendra Modi will be the next PM of India, led by a “mythical” Modi wave that is about to “sweep” India. Western media has sounded the cautionary note of this eventuality, only to be attacked, not surprisingly, by BJP fans. Local godmen, who peddle everything from yoga to secrets of good living, have jumped on the BJP bandwagon through a series of Op-ed pieces, sound bites on TV, tweets and social media posts, attacking everyone who seems to stand in the way. Some industrialists have stepped up to endorse the BJP manifesto. The media has started rolling out the BJP’s “list of most powerful” in the impending Modi government.

Is this “India Shining” as in 2004 all over again? Is this another media-fabricated myth that unabashed PR funding won’t eventually sustain – A case of shining in the media but not in the hearts and minds of the people?

Click here to see read the rest of the article on the Economic Times website.

Can India’s youth change the course of its political history?

It was painful yet poignant to see Mr. Jaswant Singh of the BJP burst into tears and fight back against the party that he has served for the better part of his political innings. On the one hand, it was clear that the new leadership of the BJP under Mr. Modi was “cleaning house,” slowly phasing out people they didn’t care for. It’s a sign that the new team lead by Modi is not averse to playing tough and decisive when required.

With age not on his side, 77 year old Mr. Jaswant Singh could perhaps have chosen to take a back seat and have a younger candidate take his position. But alas, Indian politics does not work that way! The old never retire until they are pushed out or die. The young never get a chance until they are too old and filled with scars from accumulated baggage that renders them ineffective for the most part. Perhaps the most telling aspect of the Jaswant Singh saga was the manner in which the BJP gave the Barmar ticket to recent BJP convert from the Congress. It simply reeks of sheer desperation of a party going all out to cobble together the magic number of 272 seats.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times