Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Perform or Perish

The complexion of political game has changed all of a sudden. Though there was hardly any doubt that Narendra Modi will emerge victorious. But despite losing votes and seats he is sounding desperate to be named the prime-ministerial candidate by a BJP and unconcerned about the entire bunch of allies. This is in contrast with a young and reluctant not so impressive Rahul Gandhi who has virtually denounced power- saying that his mother calls it poison. There are those who want that 2014 should be a Modi versus Rahul battle, and those who virtually despise it as a no-contest. But one thing is clear, whereas Rahul had his own party men in tears (for the sake of loyalty) after an emotional Jaipur acceptance speech, Modi is yet to take the party along and banking on outside support of students’ (SRCC, Delhi University), diplomatic (EU) and  Corporates fraternity and even TV channels and social media campaign to buttress his claim to power in Delhi.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Barbarians at the gate

Sub heading: The Congress under Rahul Gandhi must end the mistake of “outsourcing” to regional and caste-determined parties in such large states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. BJP also say enough is enough to these fringe parties

Ashish Nandy, the psychologist and social anthropologist, said at the Jaipur Literary Festival that  dalits, despite many decades of affirmative action, were still lagging so far behind others that they now seek to equalize through controversial means, including corruption. In Tamil Nadu, film star and director Kamal Hasaan is seeking release of his film Vishwaroopam which is a spy thriller in which the “evil” could be someone like Taliban boss Mullah Omar. In Kolkata, the ‘cultural capital’ of India (only Bengalis know why is it called so), novelist Salman Rushdie had plans to attend the annual book festival now on.
All the three men knew not what they’d soon be up against. Nandy, a life-long supporter of affirmative action against caste discrimination, was accused of vilifying dalit by a phalanx of SC/ST politicians led by Mayawati. Buckling under pressure, the Congress government of Rajasthan got the police in Jaipur to file an FIR against Nandy who had to rush to the Supreme Court to secure a stay order against detention. Hasaan’s film could not be released on the scheduled date because 24 Muslim groups had warned Chief Minister Jayalalitha against its screening, which, according to them, would outrage their community’s sentiments to the extent that there might be street protests. Jayalalitha obligingly got some collector to ban the screening. Hasaan went to the Madras High Court where a single bench threw away the ban order but soon a two-judge bench overturned the previous order and restored the ban. The matter is now being “amicably settled” .