What Modi has done right

Post the victory of May 16, 2014, there was an understandable level of restlessness in the right wing. For most of us (including me), a clear majority of 272+ seats was a gift straight from the moon. My own expectation was a little over 190, possibly kissing 200. That Modi would propel the BJP into the 272+ orbit was absolutely special.

Suddenly finding itself in the 272+ orbit, Modi was bombarded with expectations. The right wing wanted its core agenda implemented on the spot. But as Modi continued to play good cop, kept talking of “Team India” and went out of the way to give respect and courtesy to the vanquished, the frustration mounted.

I must say that I felt cold and uninspired a day before the name of the UP CM was actually announced. That’s when everyone was convinced that Manoj Sinha was taking over the reigns. I looked up Manoj Sinha, simple man, soft spoken, well educated and well meaning. But what does he have for me, a core BJP supporter? Basically nothing.

For me, saffron in Uttar Pradesh had just gone beige. The win had become so bland it tasted like defeat.

You know when somebody prepares a grand feast but forgets to put the salt? It ruins everything.

And then Modi goes boom and appoints Yogi Adityanath for Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Suddenly, the Lutyens editors are squirming in their seats, rubbing their eyes in disbelief and there are boisterous scenes of celebration in Lucknow.

Victory finally feels like victory.

This smack on the faces of the elite is a symptom of a changing Modi, one who is slowly but surely ratcheting himself up.

We probably won’t know for sure until 2019, but Modi has consistently avoided falling into the traps that the Vajpayee government fell into.

I feel that by far the No. 1 decision that Modi made was the installation of Amit Shah as BJP president. In Amit Shah, the BJP has a President who is full time 100% committed to winning elections instead of hankering after a plum ministerial berth.

Contrary to this, during the NDA-1 government, all talent migrated completely to the government leaving the party and its organization in tatters. If my memory serves me right, they had people like Jana Krishnamurty and Venkaiah Naidu as party president. There’s nothing wrong with these honest well-meaning folks, but they weren’t the type who were particularly good at strategizing for elections.

During Atalji’s tenure, the party kept losing election after election in the states. At one point, the Congress reached a peak of 15 Chief Ministers or so. In fact, it was Narendra Modi’s 2002 win that put some brakes on the Congress’ victory march. Of course those were different times and Atalji had a very different set of challenges running his coalition government, but the fact remains that the BJP organization suffered during 1998-2004.

The second thing that Modi did masterfully is shed the “pro-rich” image. Well, to be fair, his real trick here was to go glacially slow on reforms, unlike the Vajpayee government (the most reformist government till date). So, that’s not much of a trick really. Nevertheless, labels have power and Modi’s opponents tried to hit him with the same club of “suit boot ki sarkar”.

This was the real achievement of demonetization. Modi’s statement of taking on the corrupt was so powerful that it took the imagination of the poor by storm. Of course, Modi could lean here on the lessons from Vajpayee’s experience. Don’t go too quickly on reforms, or you won’t be around to harvest the crop. Manmohan reaped all the credit for what Vajpayee sowed. It still hurts.

Of course, Modi’s opponents did him a favor by trying to hit him with the pro-rich jibe too soon. He realized what could happen, did a tactical retreat on the Land Bill and proceeded to build his own pro-poor image that may now be his strongest point.

Modi understood that he needed to win the states to “demonetize” the Congress party. He understood that the secular establishment had a back up plan. From academia to media to the judiciary, he needed to hit their citadels one by one. You can’t uproot a 70 year old tree in one fell swoop. You have to go slow.

So, that’s what he did. Modi has used his first term in power to build the national base for the BJP. He’s expanded the party into Maharashtra. He’s won back the lost ground in Uttar Pradesh. The Sangh’s dream of saffronizing the North East has become a reality. He’s also picked up Haryana, the only Hindi belt state that had puzzlingly never seen a BJP government. Only the city state of Delhi continues to confound him.

Modi has now created a launchpad of about 200 seats from where the BJP will start in every election. The party’s previous peak was just 183 seats. Modi has now raised the floor to 200. From 2019 onwards, the BJP’s battle will be for the remaining stretch of 72 seats. It will win some elections and lose others … but BJP will be the dominant party of India for the foreseeable future with always a minimum of 200 seats.

Modi now feels safer with the reins of power.

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There will be more to come. A new Modi is emerging.

The other day Praveen Patil said that 2014 was NOT NaMo’s electoral Mount Everest. He’s right. The mistake liberals have made from Day 1 of the Modi government is that they have tried to stop BJP from repeating 2014. They never seriously considered the possibility that Modi aims to go far beyond 2014.

How the Hindu vote held together in Uttar Pradesh

The other day, I began to laugh when I saw this news.

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The “leaders” of the Jat “movement” sure are smart people. They know that it is best to withdraw when you don’t have any cards in your hand. Elections are over in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, elections in the Jat belt of Western Uttar Pradesh ended a long time ago. There is no room for blackmail any more.

The BJP has already done everything that could have been done. They gave a quota to Jats, but that was struck down by the Supreme Court. They filed a review petition against the SC verdict. That was struck down too. There is really nothing left to do at this point.

But the so called “Jat agitation” was never about quota or rights or anything for that matter. The single point agenda was to shake the new Jat voters of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. This went with a very determined media campaign to claim that Jats were furious with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

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Total nonsense. This is how media myths are born. Some newstrader spreads a motivated rumor and before long, every media person doing the rounds of Western Uttar Pradesh on his motorcycle is filing “Jat anger” in his ground report.

Read this “ground report” from a typical beat reporter for Navbharat Times and my response to him back on Jan 30.

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I am proud of the fact that not for a moment did I fall for the myth of “Jat anger”. Because Jats would not be angry with BJP simply because some of their “leaders” were paid to be angry. Or because some newstraders were paid to report on this alleged anger. The Jats had no reason to be angry. And under no circumstances would they have shifted their votes to the SP+Cong alliance, their tormentors during the Muzaffarnagar riots. Neither would they have voted for Ajit Singh’s tiny vote katwa party. I think the RLD won just 1 seat out of 403 in the final results. So much for all the reports on Jat anger.

Regrettably, at one point, even Praveen Patil, who coined the term United Spectrum of Hindu votes, fell for this myth. I am glad I didn’t. I know that “all’s well that ends well”, but Patil also did say that BSP was doing “better than expected”.

It shows that even the committed right wingers are susceptible to fall for myths propagated by the mainstream establishment. It was downright disappointing for me to see Patil regurgitating the tired old “BSP underestimated” humbug like the ageing Communist ideologues at CSDS.

The BSP performed the most miserably of all, just as I was sure all along it would. I say this not out of arrogance about my prediction coming true. 

Why would I be arrogant? I have no resources nor presence on the ground. I am just a guy with a computer, typing away. My “predictions” can hardly be called “predictions”. They should properly be called “guesswork”. I guessed that Jats weren’t going to desert BJP and guessed that BSP would perform miserably. My guesses came true.

So, I emphasize this not to be arrogant, but as a warning to the right wing not to get unnerved by myths spread by the establishment. Don’t get nervous because the BJP’s new supporters from 2014 will stick with the party : whether it be  the Jats, the non-Jatav Dalits, the youth or women.

As satisfying as it was to see the BJP sweep 325 of the 403 seats, it was more satisfying to note that the vote share remained practically the same since the Lok Sabha election. The erosion of votes was a mere 2%, which is unavoidable when you move from a national poll to a local state poll.

It wasn’t just about Jats. Remember what the media tried with Dalits? Anyone remember Una?

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Indeed, who is Jignesh Mevani and why did he become the toast of the town? Because, the media needed to find a Dalit issue to take on the BJP. And who can forget this?

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You know, I’ll bet that Dalits haven’t forgotten Rohith Vemula. Just not in the way the Left wants. On the contrary, Dalits have drawn the right lessons from the death of Rohith Vemula. Here was a young man who was asking the right questions: like why hasn’t a Dalit been allowed to enter the Commie Politburo for 5o years?

The young man tried to kill himself begging that people should not be reduced just to votes. But, when they found him, they didn’t even check if it was possible to revive him. They desperately needed a dead body for their anti-BJP politics.

The Dalits saw that. When Rohith Vemula died, they saw who winced in pain about the loss of a bright young son of Bharat Mata.

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And the Dalits also saw who was celebrating Rohith’s death like India had taken a wicket in a thrilling cricket match with Pakistan.

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That’s the political editor of Hindustan Times Mumbai edition. Dalits didn’t forget Rohith Vemula. That’s why BJP won and Mayawati lost. No, Dalits wouldn’t vote for the arrogant “Deviji” who sent goons to demand that Dayashankar Singh’s 12 year old daughter be “presented” to a violent mob.

This is Deviji’s face as she arrogantly told everyone that she is the goddess of Dalits.

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Who’s laughing now?

Is the Economic Times on a desperate mission to rescue Rahul Gandhi?

In the run up to these Uttar Pradesh elections, the Economic Times came to acquire a measure of notoriety, at least on social media, for its cheerleading of the Samajwadi & Congress alliance. This was mostly due to the troika from ET politics consisting of Aman Sharma, Rohini Singh and Vasudha Venugopal. Here is a typical fan post from one of them, showing the level of their fanatic adulation.

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Even in the final days of polling, when Samajwadi & Congress shoulders were clearly drooping, the troika went their merry way on Twitter, as if reality wasn’t happening at all.

The lead member of this pack appears to have been Rohini Singh, who became, in the sunset days of the UP election, some kind of a “Baghdad Bob / Comical Ali” for the Grand Alliance. Remember “Baghdad Bob / Comical Ali“, nickname of Saddam’s charismatic information minister who would appear boldly on Iraqi state TV every night and declare with a straight face how they were winning the war, even as American forces were destroying the last vestiges of Iraqi defenses?

Here is Rohini on March 8, even after the end of the 7th phase, mocking the BJP strategy.

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Incidentally, Baghdad Bob later told the Americans that all the “information” he used to dispense during the war came from “authentic sources — many authentic sources”.

The fall of Rohini Singh, in particular, is really a shame. Because Rohini is known to be a very “bright” journalist. She was the best performer at CNBC and then brought in personally by M K Venu to join ET as an asset. Here is part of a transcript, where Venu requests Nira Radia to help out this bright reporter on the “policy side”, since Rohini was getting ready to report on the finance ministry and some other key policies.

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She was supposed to be tutored by the best of the best, the people who handle TATAs and other folks whose activities have “policy implications”, you know…

It is sad that such a bright young mind, the best performer at CNBC and tutored by the best on the “policy side”, was reduced to a target of ridicule on Twitter. Social media can be a dark, unfriendly place. She appears to have taken a much deserved vacation from social media since March 11, during which I am sure she will reflect on her downfall and bounce back with renewed vigor.

Most newspapers would be embarrassed to have “reputation” that the Economic Times has acquired. You would think that ET would prefer to lie low after the results of March 11.

But, the Economic Times showed that we have moved into a “post-shame” era when it managed to uncover a grand success for Rahul Gandhi in the results from Uttar Pradesh.

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Apparently, the Congress has seen a 51% increase in votes in constituencies where candidates were picked from Rahul’s “Dalit leadership mission” and this is supposed to count as a “success”. Somehow, ET forgot to account for the fact that the Congress contested alone in 2012 and in alliance in 2017. As a result, the Congress should see an increase in votes in almost every seat it contested in 2017.

This is common sense.

It appears that Ms. Nidhi Sharma of “ET Bureau” might need a little bit of help on the “arithmetic side” of things, considering that she is reporting on this stuff now.

But the Economic Times did not stop there. There was more to come from the revered “ET Bureau”.

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This time it’s one T K Arun explaining how Rahul is the golden boy who is the unsung hero of our times, always failing to take credit for the all the good things he did for all of us.

The Rahul of Economic Times is something of an unlucky superman. He delivered on economic growth, he learned from all his electoral mistakes, he was the one who “really” defeated Mayawati in 2012, he scripted the victory in Punjab, everything. The only superpower he lacks is taking credit for his achievements. Which is why ‘India’s social media love to ridicule him’.

That might well be true. But I have a feeling that if ET continues down this path, they will soon be the most trolled newspaper in India. Jokes will circulate on every Whatsapp group about ET’s imbecilic antics and credentials. And it won’t be an accident.

Yogi as CM shows that Modi won’t give up 2019 without a fight

It is an irony that the BJP’s smashing victory in Uttar Pradesh might actually have made it more difficult for Modi to win in 2019. The bigger the BJP gets and the more states it wins, the more “Mahagathbandhans” will rise, making the path to victory in 2019 steeper and narrower.

On the contrary, the BJP’s big defeat in Bihar, which gave the opposition some breathing space, also made it easier Narendra Modi.  In Bihar, the BJP can at least sit back and hope for the alliance of desperate opposites to collapse under its own weight. Not so in Uttar Pradesh, where Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav will now march in lock step. There is another mahagathbandhan of Shiv Sena + Cong + NCP budding in Maharashtra.

So, you have there the equation for 2019. Three big Mahagathbandhans in India’s 3 of India’s 4 largest states : Uttar Pradesh (80 seats), Maharashtra (48 seats) and Bihar (40 seats). The other state in the big four is West Bengal (42 seats), where the BJP is still a bit player.

What was Modi supposed to do here? Become another Vajpayee and fade into the sunset, leaving the Dynasty and its NGO jackals to snap up the economic gains founded on his five years of hard work?

By picking Yogi Adityanath as CM, Modi has shown that he will play his best hand for 2019. He wont go down without a fight, like liberals wanted him to. The state of Uttar Pradesh will be run directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. Lucknow is too important for him not to deliver on his promises of development. But, honestly, what “vikas” could he possibly have given in (less than 2 years) that would have taken the BJP’s vote share from 40% to 51% so that he can fight the Mahagathbandhan?  Let’s be real.

Modi needed a big face, a regional satrap who transcends caste. If you want to be really politically incorrect, you could say he needed someone who can unite the 80% against the 20%. Did he have another option that would give him a realistic chance in the fight against the Mahagathbandhan?

So Modi went for broke. He went with the raw emotion of the grassroot BJP worker. Anyone who witnessed the wild celebrations of BJP workers in Lucknow yesterday would know that he had made the right decision. He will need every bit of that enthusiasm to fight the Mahagathbandhan.

With Yogi’s coronation, depressed liberals who had been hiding in the woodwork for a week, will now come out all guns blazing. Who knows, even the Samajwadi Times might start tweeting again. But why should Modi listen to the people who would never ever vote for him? Why not go with the man who was most popular among BJP workers and worked the hardest in the election? Should he be sidelined simply because some smug people suddenly claim to know the mind of the BJP supporters they didn’t know existed until a week ago?

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No, Modi went with the BJP worker. I trust Modi and Shah to know their mind rather than Barkha Dutt. Those who didn’t have a single clue about the mandate  until March 11 should not be in charge of interpreting the mandate.

Yes, Modi has gone with the BJP worker and rewarded the hardest campaigner and the biggest mass leader they have in Uttar Pradesh. Keshav Maurya, who was an inspired choice by Amit Shah as the party’s OBC face, has also been amply accommodated. The Modi-Shah team picked their top players, ran with their strategy and won big.

I would advise the right wing (not that they really need my advise) not to be perturbed by the outrage of liberals. Ha! Does anyone really think that liberals hate Narendra Modi any more today than they hated him yesterday?

Of course not. The liberals want the BJP dead and gone. Done and dusted. Finished. Destroyed. Buried so deep under the ground that they wont find a trace of BJP in a thousand years. The appointment of one Hindutva firebrand as CM does not change their view of BJP. If yesterday they wanted the BJP buried 6000 feet under the ground, maybe liberals today want the BJP buried 6001 feet under the ground. Does it matter?

Because liberals can live with everything, except BJP. They are happy to cuddle with Stalinists, but they can’t live with RSS. Do liberals really care about inclusive politics? Ha! This, for example, is Shiv Sena for you.

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But this did not deter the liberal media from discovering that Uddhav Thackeray is a mild mannered photographer with a heart of gold. Right around the time of the BMC polls.  So, if you are a liberal and you are circulating speeches of Yogi Adityanath and pretending to be shocked, I am laughing at you.

Modi has begun the fight for 2019. And in order to fight this historic election, he has chosen to believe in his own. And by making Yogi the Chief Minister, he has made it clear that he won’t let the enemy whisper in his ear while the battle is in progress.

 

Digvijay Singh : BJP’s No. 2 campaigner facing downfall?

We in the right wing might like to give all the credit to Modi and Shah for the spectacular successes of the party since 2013. But in our hearts, we all know that the Modi-Shah team benefitted from the stupidity of a particularly pathetic coterie of Congress leaders. At this point, these people can essentially be considered BJP’s moles within Congress.

Of course Modi was the right man at the right place at the right time to snap up an opportunity. But this level of national dominance takes a special combination of happy coincidences and we should all give due credit to the pack of Congress fools who made it all possible for us.

The leader among the pack is of course Rahul Gandhi. He’s No.1. And Digvijay Singh is an undisputed No.2. Digvijay Singh’s constant pandering to wild conspiracy theories, on every single subject from 26/11, to the fabled “Hindu terror” to Batla House encounter have all contributed immensely to the anti-Hindu image that the Congress officially blamed for its 2014 defeat.

The No.3 position is up for grabs, with several contenders like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kapil Sibal and Renuka Chowdhury. Perhaps Aiyar should have this position because of his famed “Chaiwallah”  remark. But there is no denying the fact that each time one of these scumbags appears on a TV screen, at least 100 people take a solemn oath never to vote Congress in their life.

Unluckily for the BJP (on a national scale), it seems like No.2 campaigner Digvijay Singh is about to face his comeuppance for his colossal failure in Goa.

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Two days ago, I made it explicit that I was against the manner in which BJP formed a government in Goa. More than moral considerations (come on, this is politics) my concern was about the image of Manohar Parrikar, which is a huge political asset. Because Parrikar towers so far above everyone else in Goa, I felt it was a mistake to put this image at stake by “managing numbers” for him in Goa.

In my typical experience, keeping the single largest party out of power is a gamble that never seems to work. When the Congress and JDS came to form a government in Karnataka in 2004, they ended up handing the state to BJP. The JMM and Congress made the same mistake in Jharkhand under Hemant Soren. In my opinion, the problem is that the public is very harsh in judging such governments and they never have a “honeymoon period”. They lose the narrative from Day 1 and by the time their Assembly term ends (or their government collapses under its own weight), the public is ready to punish them.

On the other hand, the single largest party sitting in the opposition generally gets a large measure of sympathy. I was worried about BJP in general and Parrikar in particular being seen as the villain in such a drama in Goa.

Now I am quite happy to revise my view. Clearly, I had underestimated the ability of the Congress to bomb itself into oblivion. Far from sitting in the opposition in a dignified manner, enjoying the moral high ground and the sympathy, the Congress has come down with an ugly outbreak of infighting. The spat is so obscene that it has taken the heat off the BJP “managing” the numbers. Far from giving the Congress some sympathy, the people are probably remembering all the reasons why they found the Congress so disgusting in the first place.

Let’s see. Given the murkiness of the situation, it is hard to construct a clear sequence of events, but here is a rough timeline:

(A) BJP won the confidence motion with 22 votes to 16 for the Congress. Why did the Congress get only 16 votes when it won 17 seats? Because Vishwajeet Rane disappeared during the vote.

(B) Digvijay Singh, who is the Congress in charge for Goa, accuses Rane of having “coffee” with Parrikar.

(C)  Another Congress MLA, this time one Salvio Rodrigues has now resigned, blaming Digvijay for the failure to form a government.

(D) Digvijay in turn says that he had finalized the pre-poll alliance with Goa Forward Party, but “certain Goa leaders”  screwed up his arrangements.

For the uninitiated, Vishwajeet Rane is the son of Pratapsinh Rane, the last Congress CM of Goa. Vishwajeet was the likely frontrunner for CM if the Congress had formed the government. It can only be assumed that a large number of Congress MLAs in Goa owe allegiance to him and his father. For the Congress in Goa, this is nothing short of disaster. They have already lost 2 MLAs in 2 days. The party might melt down as early as next week.

With Digvijay facing the heat for being the “outsider who screwed up Goa for the Congress”, anything can happen now. It’s truly ugly out there. And Parrikar is really lucky. Instead of giving him criticism and mockery, Goans are thanking their stars that this pathetic circus of a Congress party was kept out of power in Panaji.

On a side note, I’ll say the people of Goa kind of deserve what they are getting. In his big rally, Modi had urged the people note to vote for the tiny vote katwa parties like Goa Forward, MGP and random independents. He had called them “loktantra ke jebkatre” (pickpockets of democracy). But people didn’t listen. If they didn’t want BJP, they could have given the Congress a clear majority for a stable government. But, they handed the keys to these free floaters. What else did they expect? Did anyone honestly hope for MGP or Goa Forward to come up with an agenda for governance? They voted for horse trading and that’s exactly what they got.

And on a final note, I am happy that a hard worker from RSS ranks has been chosen for Uttarakhand CM, not some migratory bird. Trivendra Rawat now has a responsibility and a historic opportunity to become the face of the state, use his clear mandate to ensure development and end the cycle of rotating governments. Now waiting eagerly to know who Modi and Shah will pick to rule Uttar Pradesh.

 

 

The great Punjab heist

Flush with victory in Uttar Pradesh, a sweep in Uttarakhand and the joy of beating the Congress to the punch in Goa and Manipur, the Right Wing has mostly forgotten Punjab. Yes, we are trying not to think about it.

But if you ask me, something very sinister has just unfolded in Punjab. Not because Congress won, but because of the manner in which this victory came about. In hindsight, it seems to be a major success of media propaganda, which may well repeat in some form in other states.

I am sure I can speak for large sections of the RW when I say that we all thought Punjab was in disarray, in the grip of an anti-incumbency wave. This kind of thinking was sorely manifest even at the highest levels. Notice that Modi himself did just ONE rally in Punjab. And Modi is not someone who is known for putting in half hearted efforts. Clearly, that one rally was just a courtesy to the Akalis. In their hearts and often even in their public statements, the BJP leaders, workers and supporters had all decided that there was an anti-incumbency wave sweeping Punjab.

Did we really stop to think why a rather prosperous state like Punjab would experience an anti-incumbency wave of historic proportions? Of course there can be simple anti-incumbecy… a sense of restlessness among voters and a desire for change. Punjab has a long tradition of alternating governments and so NDA was probably going to lose anyway. But why an anti-incumbency wave?

What had happened in Punjab that was so bad that we all thought people were itching to throw the Akalis (and BJP) out? How did we convince ourselves that the election in Punjab was between Congress and AAP, with NDA out of the picture?

 

The votes are in. Far from being out of the picture, the NDA is clearly the main opposition in Punjab. The NDA is 8% behind the Congress but also as much as 7% ahead of AAP. In fact, the SAD alone contested 94 seats and still got more votes than AAP did by contesting 113 seats.

Consider the media campaign. First, there were the infamous “100 seat surveys” that showed AAP sweeping the state. There was even a big Bollywood movie made on the atmosphere of drug addiction and decay in Punjab. Dr. Praveen Patil called the movie a “special purpose vehicle”. The media kept up the pressure, with regular reports on how Punjab was staring into the abyss and all because of NDA.

 

And AAP, which really knows how to work the airwaves, used this very effectively to crush the right wing morale. Because of the BJP’s two failures in Delhi, the party and its supporters had developed a mental block against AAP. Again, the media sensed this fear and leveraged it extensively against us.

Look at what was really happening. AAP was nowhere and we were all worried sick about it.

Because of the AAP association with Khalistan, it is not hard to imagine that significant sections of the Hindu vote might have gone to Congress. And even if the BJP leadership did not do this as a matter of policy, terrified BJP workers on the ground might have shifted votes to Congress anyway.

This is why I say that the election in Punjab was downright sinister. You had BJP workers shifting votes to the Congress and even cheering the Congress on. Can it get more sinister than this?

 

In Punjab, we were happily destroying our own fortifications and cheering our enemy along. Because the media convinced us that there was an even bigger enemy attacking us from the other direction.

But there was no other enemy on the other side. It was a lie made up by the media.

 

Face it. The BJP was completely outwitted and outfoxed in Punjab. In retrospect, how did we fall for this?

*Facepalm*

I can imagine Capt. Amrinder Singh having a Patiala peg and rolling in laughter right now, with Bhagwant Mann by his side.

Can you believe BJP supporters voted for us because they thought AAP is for real?

That’s what Amrinder Singh is telling Mann right now.

The Congress is happy because it swept to power. Kejriwal is happy because the media hype allowed him to auction AAP tickets several times over for several crores each.

And the BJP is happy because it found out that the AAP ghost isn’t real. Who is the fool here?

 

Why could Congress not act fast enough in Goa and Manipur?

First of all the fun news. It is not just the Share market on Dalal Street that is up ever since BJP’s spectacular win in Uttar Pradesh. My last post on this blog, which I also published in Opindia went viral, garnering over 10,000 FB shares and counting.

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For ease of comparison, Ms. Gurmehar Kaur’s crappy FB post had only 3000 shares or so after almost 5 days of relentless promotion by every media outlet in the country.

Overall, I am glad I finally got to tell this thrilling story. You see Jharkhand is essentially as much of a forgotten state of India as the North East. When you start telling about the dark deeds of UPA in this forgotten state, people do listen!

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And I do hope that someone in Bollywood listens to all the tweets about this story and makes a movie about it.

For me the question of the day is why the Congress could not get its act together in Goa and Manipur fast enough. Barring something totally unforeseen (and that could well happen), it seems the BJP has already locked up both states.

But how did this come to pass? In Goa, the Congress had 17 seats out of 40, needing just 4 for a majority. There were enough free floaters around like MGP (3 seats) and Goa Forward (3 seats) for Congress to form a government. In Manipur, the Congress was even closer, just 3 short of a majority.

So, what happened?

The consensus on media and social media seems to be that the Congress was in a state of shock after UP results, its leadership too lethargic and perhaps arrogant to act quickly. Meanwhile the BJP moved nimbly and had locked up both states before the Congress got wind of what was happening.

However, I just want to specify that I disagree heavily. Politicians are just not like that. When they see power in front of them, they gobble it up, pure and simple. And I believe that politicians are made of sterner stuff than to just give up and lose in Panaji or Imphal just because their enemy won in faraway Uttar Pradesh. You or I may have experienced this election on social media, looking at the “big picture” : the totality of all 5 states that went to polls. But for party leaders in the actual contest, the election is much more local. They were focused on their own specific state and their own specific seats.

Just because we spent 80% of our time thinking about UP and only 5% each for the other 4 states doesn’t mean a Congress leader in Goa or Manipur did the same. No, they probably spent 90% of their time thinking about their own state.

So, I do not buy the “shock theory”. I do not believe for a moment that a Congress worker leader who has spent months  toiling in Goa will suddenly give up just because he saw disappointing results on TV from Uttar Pradesh.

I think the explanation is a lot simpler. The Congress simply did not have enough money to form the government in Goa or Manipur. Let’s keep it real.

The events in Goa and Manipur show that the cash crunch in Congress is for real. As the Congress has vanished from the map of India, it has ceased to be an attractive investment. It is simply now unable to raise the money for political wheeling and dealing.

This is terrible news for the people of Karnataka, because a drying and desperate Congress will now squeeze this cash cow to the max. But the worst possible choice has been made by the people of Punjab. Because the Congress is scheduled to lose Karnataka in May 2018, a full year before the General Elections. This will leave them with only Punjab, which will now have to bear the entire weight of the Congress 2019 campaign. Humongous corruption is on the way….

I will go on record one more time to express my reservations about what the BJP is doing in Goa. The image of Manohar Parrikar is a massive political asset. And the BJP is putting it all on the line. Suffice to say that a government like this in Goa can only last as long as the BJP is in power at the Central level. Fortunately, 2019 is likely to be a win and so the government in Goa is likely safe.

Here, I must note with some irony, that the very purpose for the existence of this blog is now under threat. This blog was started to fight the propaganda of dynastycrooks. And surely you have all noticed the odd silence ever since the results of Uttar Pradesh came out. Have you seen how much peace there is in the country since March 11?

Folks, the dynastycrooks are falling silent. They are all convinced that 2019 is a gone case. Which is silly, because it definitely isn’t. The Congress has several “mahagathbandhan” tricks up its sleeve. It would be foolish to take it easy for 2019.

But the dynastycrooks, having thrown in their lot aggressively with the Dynasty for the last 3 years, are suddenly in panic mode. They have realized that the incessant screaming and crying wolf for 3 years hasn’t helped their cause one bit. If anything, it might have made Modi even bigger than he actually is.

And that’s why the BJP’s machinations in Goa, instead of getting criticism, are suddenly being praised as examples of being “nimble”. These are the perks of being in power 🙂 Have you seen NDTV these days? There’s “Bhakt” written all over it.

And the sudden, self-interested Bhakti of dynastycrooks will always be more servile than anything a genuine Bhakt can offer.

The real challenge for BJP will be to keep its head above this rising tide of flatterers and listen to the voices of the real supporters and genuine well-wishers. Today, there are pathological BJP haters who are suddenly praising every move of the party to high heaven. The BJP needs to insulate itself from this false praise.

I’ve said before that the only clever thing Rahul Gandhi said in his life is that “Power is actually a poison“.  Never get carried away by what the flatterers tell you, but the temptation is always tremendous. Having seen the worst of the media, I think Modi understand this. We will know in 2019.

Thriller : When UPA sent Deputy CM to raid an aeroplane

In terms of realpolitik, here is what is happening in Goa and Manipur. The BJP got more votes but less seats. Now, the BJP is striking a deal with smaller players to grab power in both states.

In other words, the Congress benefited from an idiosyncrasy of the electoral process and ended up with more seats with less votes. Now, the BJP is benefiting from an idiosyncrasy of the parliamentary process and winning power even with less seats.

Based on their party sympathies, I am sure people will take their pick on which party is “murdering democracy”. In the meanwhile, I came across this tweet:

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Coming from P Chidambaram, one can only assume that this tweet was basically intended as a joke,  perhaps in a light “Bura na mano holi hai” mood. I could have called it a case of the “devil quoting the scriptures”, but I do not subscribe to the dark absolutes of Abrahamic thought.

Nevertheless, the Honorable Former Minister felt the need to specify that his Twitter account is intended for  “short but serious comment on contemporary issues”. Which puts me in the mood to tell you a story. It’s a political thriller from 2005. Listen if you will.

Here are the results of the Assembly Election in the State of Jharkhand from Feb – March 2005 (Total of 81 seats).

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The BJP was by far the largest party, winning 30 seats out of the 63 seats it contested. The BJP’s prepoll alliance partner JDU contested the other 18 seats and won 6. This took the NDA tally to 36 in the 81 member Assembly.

The UPA parties were far behind with JMM winning 17 and Congress winning just 9 for a total of 27 seats if you would like to include the NCP’s lone MLA as well.

Immediately after the results, the BJP received the support of 5 other MLAs : 2 from the AJSU (All Jharkhand Students Union), the lone MLA from the Jharkhand Party and 2 other independents. This took the NDA tally to 41, which would be a clear majority.

(Side note: Because of the lack of any identifiable party structure or discipline in the two smaller parties mentioned above as supporting BJP, several media sources for this article tend to refer to all these 5 MLAs simply as “independents”).

The BJP duly staked claim to form the government and also physically presented the 5 supporting MLAs before the Honorable Governor of Jharkhand.

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But then, Governor Syed Sibtey Razi did something that shocked and stunned the entire state of Jharkhand. He invited JMM supremo Shibu Soren to form the government. Soren was sworn in as CM and Stephen Marandi as Deputy CM.

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To give you an idea of how muddy the political waters were in Jharkhand in 2005, let me mention that Stephen Marandi was a JMM rebel who had just won as an independent from Dumka, defeating Shibu Soren’s own son Hemant! In fact, Hemant Soren finished in 3rd position in Dumka with just 20,000 votes. The BJP candidate came second.

The NDA called for a statewide bandh and an agitation, but there was little it could do otherwise. The only option for them was to fly the 41 MLAs to Delhi to be paraded before President Kalam, winning a “moral victory” in public view. The date chosen for this was March 3, 2005. It was now a simple matter of getting these 41 MLAs, including the 5 precious independents, on the 90 minute flight from Ranchi to Delhi.

Right?

No!  Not so fast!

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Yes, you read that right! Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi and his men stopped the chartered plane on the runway at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport as it was about to take off! The plane was ordered to return and then raided to capture the independent MLAs on board. This is not a Hollywood movie. This is a low budget thriller produced by our UPA government.

So what did the UPA do once it caught hold of these 5 MLAs?

Nothing. Because the 5 MLAs weren’t on board at all.

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While the Congress government was busy at Ranchi Airport, the 5 independents were actually being driven across the state border. Where were they headed? To BJP ruled Chhattisgarh, obviously. They would be safe there.

Except they weren’t going to Chhattisgarh. Because that was the first border that the UPA government sealed when they realized the MLAs were escaping.

Surely they were headed to Odisha then? Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, then in NDA, would protect them.

Wrong again. The MLAs were actually headed to CPI(M) ruled West Bengal. The panicked UPA government deployed minimum resources on that border, convinced that the BJP would never choose a state ruled by the Left Front!

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Once in Durgapur, the MLAs received further orders from Venkaiah Naidu, who made them turn towards Kharagpur Railway Station. There, at 2:30 AM on March 3, the MLAs boarded a train to Bhubaneswar. At 5 AM on March 3, they were finally safe.

Meanwhile, the BJP continued to bluff, throwing the UPA’s sniffers off the trail over and over again. Rumors were spread that the MLAs were still in Ranchi, then it was said they were in Delhi. At one point, the BJP even spread the rumor that they had been moved to Ahmedabad.

That afternoon, the 5 supporting MLAs finally caught an Indian Airlines flight from Bhubaneswar to Delhi. They were then presented before the President of India.

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Nine days later, Jharkhand Governor Sibtey Razi dismissed Shibu Soren from the post of Chief Minister and invited Arjun Munda to form the government in the state.

PS: Personally, I do not support BJP’s act of forcing in a government in Goa. The party and Parrikar’s image would have been better off not getting involved, the numbers being what they are. 

Chhattisgarh : Leftists take revenge for progress, take 12 innocent lives

Far away from the cream and strawberries world of celebrity patrakars and their political patrons in Lutyens Delhi, there is a forgotten vastness of the nation where people still struggle for their basic needs.

The people in this tribal patch of Eastern India were divided. No, not because of “Hindutva” or “intolerance”. But because the Sabari river flowed between Dornapal town in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh and Podia town in Odisha. Seven decades of the idea of India had failed to build a bridge between these two communities. As a result, despite being so close to each other, the people would have to travel as much as 120 km to make it to the other side.

Finally, Achche Din have arrived. The bridge has been built and a journey of 120 km has come down to a mere 3 km, as seen in this report from Navbharat Times:

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For friends who might not be able to read Hindi, let me translate some of the most relevant lines:

The news of the opening of the bridge had spread like wildfire through dozens of villages and towns a day before. By evening thousands of people from Chhattisgarh and Odisha had gathered to see history being made. There was a smile on every face and a desire to see something new and special. Nearly a thousand people from the Chhattisgarh side crossed the bridge in two wheelers to meet people on the Odisha side and express their happiness.

This is exactly the kind of grassroots development that should bring tears of joy into the eyes of any genuine well wisher of the Indian people. Not to mention that this is exactly the kind of grassroots reporting that is losing out to celebrity patrakars who tweet out the rumblings in their own echo chambers in the form of “ground reports”.

Swarajya Magazine also picked up the story here from the same report in the Navbharat Times. They published it along with a prophecy

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which came true almost immediately in the most morbid manner possible.

Of course, the enemies of India couldn’t bear to see the people of Odisha and Chhattisgarh take even one step forward. The whiff of progress sent a shiver down the spines of leftists. If India develops, they lose their narrative. They’ll go out of business.

The Left acted swiftly and vengefully.

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That’s right! Leftists went to the same Sukma district of Chhattisgarh that had just been connected to Odisha with this new bridge. They just had to do it. By means of a spectacularly gruesome operation, they just had to show the people that every step towards progress will be met with swift and ruthless punishment.

India just lost another 12 fine young men as a punishment for progress.

 

What is worse is that the stranglehold of the Left on national discourse is such that these massacres are either forgotten instantly or don’t even get noticed in the first place. See if you can name even one of our brave men and women in uniform who have died fighting the intolerance of the militant Left. See if you can find even one mainstream website or primetime TV debate today on this massacre in Chhattisgarh. This story is not fashionable enough to go viral on the internet and electronic media.

Every time I see a leftist speaking with a straight face on tolerance and democracy at a televised event, I wonder if this person will burst into laughter the moment he/she goes behind the scenes.

My humble advice: take the “Bharat ki barbaadi” chants seriously. They are telling us exactly what they want. They are showing us what they are capable of doing by doing exactly what they said they would do. The only thing they are not showing is how much they are laughing at all of us.

Assembly polls : Statistical miracle as First Past The Post system squeezed the BJP/NDA

This article is written not to whine about First Past The Post (FPTP) that we have in India. I think the right wing is mature enough to take it on the chin. You win some and you lose some. If you are an Adarshliberal, this article is written to give you some solace. I know you are distraught ever since you realized that the system under which “secular” parties had been winning for decades could also be used by non-idea of India forces to their own advantage. If this article is not enough to make you feel better, Opindia has published a detailed manual to help Adarshliberals make the right choice of talking (whining) points on social and mainstream media.

Let’s start with the results from the 60 member assembly of Manipur.

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With 28 seats out of 60, the Congress party is in pole position, merely 3 short of a majority. The BJP on the other hand is at a mere 21 and needs to cover some ground to realize its dream of having a Chief Minister in Manipur. But look at voteshare pizza in this ECI graphic! The BJP has actually polled 36.3% of the vote, more than a full percentage point above the 35.1% secured by the Congress. But hey… Manipur is a tiny state and these statistical aberrations can happen. After all, in terms of absolute numbers, the BJP polled only 20,000 or so votes more than the Congress. Didn’t I say you win some and you lose some? This is not enough balm for the wounds of liberals.

Umm… okay. Let’s move on then. To Punjab.

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What? The NDA (SAD+BJP) polled 30.6% of the votes, which is as much as 7% more than the AAP’s voteshare of 23.7%! In terms of absolute numbers, the NDA polled some 47 lakh votes, which is a massive 11 lakh votes more than AAP’s 36 lakh votes. Yet, the NDA trails the AAP with just 18 seats, while the AAP won 20 seats. In fact, the SAD alone won nearly 3 lakh more votes than AAP but it secured only 15 seats. The post of Leader of Opposition won’t go to SAD, but to AAP. In terms of public perception, the headline seat numbers will make AAP appear like the principal challenger to Congress when it clearly isn’t. This perception will certainly affect NDA prospects in future elections in Punjab. And it all happened because of the inefficiencies of the FPTP system. Take heart, Adarshliberals.

Wait, there’s more. At least it was about 2nd and 3rd position in Punjab. Whether in votes or in seats, the NDA was losing in Punjab anyway. But here’s an absolute shocker for the BJP in Goa where its incumbent government has been “voted”  out.

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A clear lead of over 4% in vote share and still BJP ends up as the loser to Congress. A lead of 2-3% is generally enough to win a clear majority. A lead of 4-5% begins to push a party closer to the 2/3rd majority mark. Here the BJP won less than 1/3 of the seats despite having a 4.1% vote share lead. If the FPTP ever produced an absurd result, this is it! It would be quite interesting to sift through India’s electoral history to find out if any other party has ever lost a state despite leading its nearest rival by over 4% of votes.

In contrast, the BJP won its victories in UP and Uttarakhand by massive margins. It had as much as an 11% lead over the SP+INC alliance in UP and a staggering 13% lead over the Congress in Uttarakhand. Nothing for the Congress to complain about over there.

In fact, thanks to the FPTP system, the scoreline from the 5 states reads 3-2 in favor of the Congress! Adarshliberals please take heart. FPTP can’t be all that bad. It’s won you numerous victories for over 6 decades.

Throughout this article, I have run with the theme of “you win some and you lose some”. I am okay with that. Perhaps because I am a supporter … even a Bhakt if you want … of a leader who began his life selling tea on a railway platform. As such, I understand the inherent randomness of life. I understand that sometimes life gives you lemons. You can try to make the best of the cards you have been dealt, but sometimes the lemonade just doesn’t sell. You shrug it off and keep working for a better tomorrow. And that tomorrow may never come, despite your best efforts.

I understand that this article may still be cold comfort for Adarshliberals. I understand that Adarshliberals and their Shehzada do not see life the same way we do. When success is presented as a birthright, rather than an outcome of talent, circumstance and hard work, failure can feel like an injustice. Perhaps like the result of some grand conspiracy involving space aliens and tampered EVM machines.