Mamata’s giant Brigade Rally is a signal to Congress to back off, good news for BJP

BJP supporters should be cheering Mamata’s Brigade Rally, where she presented herself as the alternative to Modi.

BJP supporters should stop worrying about regional parties. It is as simple as that. Let me explain why.

Anyone remember 2013-14? For a while between Dec 2013 and Feb 2014, after AAP (sort of) won in Delhi, I would say BJP supporters were much more worried about Arvind Kejriwal. I think most of us would remember that directly. Remember how Modi disappeared almost completely from the news cycle? I believe in the last 3 weeks of December 2013, there was just ONE day when Modi was among the headlines : the day when the courts finally nailed all the lies of 2002 and dismissed all allegations against him.

Except for that one day, Kejriwal ruled the airwaves. So complete was his domination that even Modi seemed affected by it. At a rally in Goa (early Jan 2014?) he expressed his pain, asking people if they wanted a PM who is on TV only and nowhere else. Incidentally, that rally was attended by a crowd that comprised nearly (more than?) half of all people of voting age in Goa.

Even after his humiliation in 2014, Kejriwal kept driving BJP supporters nuts. For a long time, his onlinepresence far exceeded that of Congress which was still a beginner in the social media game. When BJP supporters took the field on SM, they were battling with AAP, not Congress.

It is only in 2017, after AAP’s shattering defeat in Punjab, that the ghost of AAP was laid to rest. At that time, I guess BJP supporters … at least some of them … celebrated the Congress win in Punjab.

Today, looking back, BJPians can see AAP for what it always was: a tiny regional party with hardly any potential outside one state. All that warring, all those potshots at AAP on social media, it was all for nothing. BJP supporters were fighting a force that was never any match for them.

Let me repeat. Regional parties barely matter. The only threat to BJP is Congress. Nobody else. Others can create a ripple here and there, but only Congress has the staying power to defeat BJP.

Other than BJP, the Congress is the only party that can win 100 Lok Sabha seats. It doesn’t matter how incompetent Rahul is… Congress is the only viable alternative to BJP from Gujarat to Chhattisgarh and from Maharashtra all the way up to Haryana and Uttarakhand and Himachal.

And don’t forget to add up all the “deep assets” that Congress has within the media and intellectual ecosystem. And all its global contacts.

Therefore, Mamata’s massive Brigade rally from Kolkata yesterday is a huge gain for BJP. Anything that weakens the Congress’ hand is a gain for BJP. 

Mamata presented herself as the pivot of an anti-Modi political formation. Her rally was much more about sending a message to the Congress, not to the BJP. And a severely weakened Congress has been happy to play along.

Mallikarjun Kharge is the leader of the Congress on the floor of Lok Sabha (No, he is not leader of opposition, unlike what media often tries to say). By sending him to the rally, Congress has sent a signal that they are willing to work under her. Even more with Rahul Gandhi’s fawning, servile letter to Mamata Banerjee which has been much publicized.

In Uttar Pradesh, Congress is now officially willing to become a 2 seat party. Remember that Congress got 10 seats there in 2004. So that is down 8 seats already. In Bengal they are willing to go down to 0. In 2004, the Congress had won 6 seats in Bengal. So that’s down another 6. Don’t even get me started about (undivided) Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, where Congress is down nearly 40 seats compared to 2004.

BJP supporters have been worrying about a 2004 like result every day since 2014. Heck, the Congress has already given up on a 2004 like result. They are now aiming for a 1996 like result!

Because Rahul is willing to work under almost anybody. For a while, it seemed he would even work under Kanhaiya Kumar. To be fair, it seems Rahul has zero illusions about his actual skill level. You have to give him that.

What happens when you enter an electoral contest hoping to “win” 2nd place and then support the 3rd or 4th place winner? Or any contest for that matter. You generally do even worse.

Mamata’s contempt for Rahul is quite well known. And Rahul has now endorsed that contempt in a servile open letter to her 🙂 Good.

Last month, when BJP lost in 3 states, the constant refrain among BJP supporters was that “Rahul is no more a Pappu”. There was a realization that the mockery and ridicule directed at Rahul has run its course, the jokes have gotten old. That doing the same old thing over and over again is beginning to help Rahul, getting him sympathy rather than scorn.

The media has been publishing “Rahul coming of age” stories every few weeks for the last 15 years. They saw the opportunity and jumped at it, hitting us with saturation level Rahul coverage. With shoulders drooping in the BJP camp, it was the perfect moment for them.

The BJP strategy needed a reboot. They needed a target other than Rahul. The BJP needed to take Rahul out of the conversation.

And Saturday’s Brigade Rally has given Modi that exact opportunity. Now that Mamata has officially presented herself as the alternative to Modi and effectively won endorsements all across the anti-Modi spectrum, the timing is right.

You can see that PM Modi realizes this too.

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Modi normally does not react directly to what the Opposition is saying. You will see that while Rahul has been crying himself hoarse over Rafale, the PM has not spoken a single word so far. He wasn’t even present in Parliament when the debate happened earlier this month.

The Prime Minister knows: anything he says on Rafale will only give oxygen to the nonsensical Rafale story.

But look at him yesterday : Modi reacts within minutes to Mamata’s Brigade Rally. Take that! He wants people to talk more about that rally, not less. He wants people to take Mamata Banerjee seriously.

Like I said, PM Modi needed a new opponent. An opponent who would be totally discredited in the eyes of the public. Who would stand no chance against him.

In 2014, Rahul was that opponent. Modi went to places where Congress hardly mattered and would keep hammering away at Rahul. Because he knew the whole nation agreed with him that Modi is better than Rahul.

They probably still do, but people believe they already decided that debate in 2014. You can’t run the same campaign twice.

In 2019, the ramshackle Mahagathbandhan can be Modi’s “enemy of choice”. Because Modi vs unstable coalition is a debate that he will win easily. Who will seriously tell you that they want a Central Government that is always on ventilator support? I see that H D Kumaraswamy went to the Kolkata rally yesterday. He probably didn’t know if he would still be Karnataka CM by the time he returned to Bengaluru. How many people want that to happen with India’s next Prime Minister? Probably nobody is fine with that, outside some super loyal caste based voters.

Real enemies cooperate 🙂 PM Modi needs a new opponent and Mamata Banerjee needs to keep raising her profile. In 2014, BJP supporters kept asking other people if they want Rahul. Everyone shuddered in pure horror and said NO. In 2019, BJP supporters have to ask people if they want the horror show from Brigade Ground in Kolkata to take the reins in Delhi. The result will be the same.

 

 

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Jungle Raj of Secularism : Church and Kerala govt are making a mockery out of India

In the late 90s, the term “jungle raj” emerged. Those who have not lived in the Bihar Jharkhand area in those days might not realize the gravity of this term. Goons of Lalu Yadav would rule the streets, always on the prowl in their jeeps, which were simply lifted from vehicle showrooms in Patna with no question of payment. People were scared to step out of their homes at all hours of the day.

Women were the hardest hit … the streets were a hunting ground where a woman could be picked up in broad daylight by party goons and raped. Often murdered as well. Children were the other target. Anybody with even a bit of money, from small businessmen to doctors, were constantly afraid for their children. Children had to go to school, after all. And kidnapping for ransom was an industry. Although not much could be said about the education system. Mass cheating was common, with answers dictated from loudspeakers set up outside schools during board exams.

Across the countryside, things were even worse. The landlords, all belonging to a Bhumihar-Rajput-Thakur castes, had their own private armies. There were brutal clashes with goons of party leaders, mostly Yadavs. The “lowest” castes suffered the worst, often made to do forced labor in fields. This was called “begar“.

This is the darkness that Bihar used to be. The term “Jungle Raj” still resonates with people to the point that Nitish had to keep apologizing and repeating in the 2015 campaign that those days would never come back. Even Lalu said much the same thing.

Not just in Bihar, there is a general agreement in our country that the worst of times can never come back.

Which is what makes Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s case so singular, so scary in my opinion. After a long time, I see helplessness of the kind that Bihar used to feel during the days of Jungle Raj.

Let’s look at the facts of the situation. So a powerful Bishop is accused of raping a nun. The nuns are in revolt but nobody listens to them. The Kerala government laughs off the case. On occasion, political leaders in Kerala make the worst kinds of accusations against the character of the victim. The Bishop meanwhile is living a life of luxury in Punjab.

Some three months later, the Kerala Govt arrests him for a few days. He gets bail almost immediately and is welcomed with showering of flowers and cries of Zindabad.

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This is like a scene from the movie Gangajaal, set in those dark days of Bihar. Within days of him getting bail, a key witness in the case, Father Kuriakose, is found dead under mysterious circumstances. The latest is that the protesting nuns are being forced out of the Kerala convent.

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One of those who came to defend the decision of the Church on Arnab’s 9 pm show said tellingly : “The nuns must obey“.

The nation watches, helpless, shocked as the Vatican beats our legal system to pulp.

What is this, if not Jungle Raj?

I honestly cannot believe what is happening. This seems like an episode from a bygone era for India.

The Church knows exactly what it is doing. They know that a bit of Twitter outrage never hurt anyone. And some screaming by Arnab on his show. Even the right wing forgot all about the matter within half a day, with a sense of accepting the inevitable.

And so the Church continues to operate with the kind of impunity not seen recently in this country. As if India is still the third world basket case/banana republic it used to be. Are we still?

A few days ago, the US based Associated Press did a massive story on the systematic sexual abuse of nuns in India.

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Nobody in India would dare touch this story, or report on it. No question of anyone doing a follow up investigation. Behold the terrifying power of the Church.

Lalu Yadav has moved on. Has the Church moved into his place?

In the 90s, Lalu’s men used to surround entire villages at the time of voting and then his goons would do booth capturing. It was so open that the phenomenon became a matter of curiosity, a spectacle. They say ‘tourists’ would come from outside India to witness this.

The fate of nuns in India today is no different. Their fate has become a story of international interest. To the Associated Press and Reuters, India is a helpless third world country that is unable to give even the most basic legal protections to its citizens against the excesses of the Church.

And I must add here, we barely even know what is happening to our children. All across the world, the Church has been engulfed with child sex abuse scandals. Hundreds of priests have been caught across America and Europe. The systematic cover up by the Church in child sex abuse cases is a global story. To think that nothing of this kind is happening in India is just absurd. If they can do such things in America and Europe, can you imagine what could be happening in the desperately poor places in India where they have established their tentacles? The child selling case uncovered in Jharkhand was probably just the tip of the iceberg.

How many women, how many children are suffering? We have no idea. Because we are terrified to even try and find out. Meanwhile, the Church, with its much more entrenched network, is busy running down our country for “intolerance”! What a superb PR campaign to scare away anyone who might be trying to unravel the web of oppression and exploitation!

 

Cursed by vultures : Will Opposition end Ayushman Bharat if it gets power at the Center?

Ever since Amit Shah was diagnosed with swine flu and admitted to hospital, elite journalists from liberal news portals have been pouring in their death wishes for the BJP Chief. Senior leaders of opposition parties have also done their bit in heaping mockery on his ill health.

They won’t matter. There is a saying in Bengali that curses from vultures have no effect.

However, things are very different when it seems that the Opposition is getting ready to end Ayushman Bharat, which could throw millions of lives into danger.

It goes without saying that Ayushman Bharat, which covers 10 crore households and has over 50 crore potential beneficiaries, is the largest health scheme anywhere in the whole world.

But Delhi never joined, which is exactly what you would expect from a man so petty and insecure as Arvind Kejriwal. The state of West Bengal has decided to quit the scheme. Apparently, Mamata Banerjee is incensed over the fact that the scheme appears to promote Prime Minister Modi. So she has decided that her state government will no longer contribute to the scheme.

Imagine if Modi government decided to end all funding to Jawaharlal Nehru University for a similar reason.

But now newly Congress ruled Chhattisgarh is set to quit Ayushman Bharat. The trend is picking up.

Even by Indian standards, this kind of breakdown in governance due to political jealousy is unprecedented. As the Modi wave swept across India, other political formations have been trying to counter him by promoting outright casteism and toxic regionalism. But now they have come to the point where they say they would rather see poor people die without medical care than see Modi get credit.

And Modi has been getting credit. Why wouldn’t he? Nearly 7 lakh people have received treatment under the scheme in its first 100 days.

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Featured here is a 54 year old street vendor who got back on his feet after 8 years! And it is only picking up steam. This is from the Director General of the World Health organization:

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The Opposition is now grudging these 7 lakh people, all from the poorest sections of society, their health and their recovery! It doesn’t get much lower than this.

Not surprisingly, our much compromised intellectual class has been observing strict silence over this plight of the poorest of the poor. Isn’t it surprising they cannot find any touching human interest stories of people who are undergoing treatment right now under Ayushman Bharat and might lose that critical care once Chhattisgarh ends the scheme?

What are they waiting for? For Modi to inaugurate a shiny new bridge somewhere, perhaps some project that had been pending for 40 years, but which Modi finished in 5 years? Then, they will do “human interest” stories about how the boatmen fear losing their livelihood because of the new bridge!

Ironically, the praise that India and PM Modi have been receiving on the global stage for Ayushman Bharat is likely to only increase the resolve of the jealousy brigade to end this scheme by hook or by crook.

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You can be certain that some “journalist” right now, working for some Cable or Wire or Antenna, has been asked to come up with a report on why Bill Gates is some unknown underachiever. Certainly no match for the exploits of fully grown child prodigy Rahul Gandhi.

It is now clear that if the Opposition manages to snatch power in 2019, they will stop at nothing to erase Modi’s legacy. It is clear that Ayushman Bharat will be ended, throwing the lives of 50 crore of our poorest citizens into jeopardy.

The question is how much farther will they go in their jealousy and desire for “revenge”. After almost 70 years of independence, there were still 3 crore households in the country without so much as an electricity connection. So in Oct 2017, the BJP government set out to complete the task of giving an electricity connection to every household in India, a target that has been 95% achieved.

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Will these electricity connections be taken away if the Opposition wins power in 2019?

Ujjwala Yojana has doubled the percentage of Indian households with gas connections. Will these gas connections be cut off and people sent back to cooking with firewood?

Rural toilet coverage has gone up from 39% in 2014 to 92% in 2018. Will these toilets be taken away and people sent back to defecate in the open? Some folks here will remember an (infamous) report in an elite liberal mouthpiece a few years ago that complained about toilets being “forced” upon villagers. So the liberals were never really happy with ordinary people of India getting to use toilets. Next thing you know they will start using Western style toilets. And then what difference will remain between the unwashed masses and the denizens of Delhi Durbar?

The saddest part is that it appears the other side is willing to trample upon the lives of India’s poor to extract its “revenge” on Modi. In a democracy, sooner or later, the government is going to change. People look to the incoming government to bring its new ideas to the table. That is what keeps democracy fresh, that is what keeps the engine of progress running. It would be a shame if the Opposition is going into an election with an agenda of ending healthcare, shutting down toilets, gas connections and electricity connections. And all because of jealousy.

Amit Shah will be fine in no time, Lutyens journos will continue with their miserable existence

Such losers!

Last night, as Amit Shah tweeted about suffering from swine flu, Lutyens’ Delhi erupted with joy. Could their great enemy, the BJP’s formidable General, be brought down in the thick of battle by a stroke of sheer bad luck?

After all, the Delhi Darbar has been lucky in the past. If the flying arrow had not struck Hemu in the eye, there would have been no 800 years of Jaziya tax collection, no Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb and no Pakistan. What would our liberals have then?

Could this be that moment? Ha!

Kudos to NDTV’s Sunetra Choudhury, who definitely didn’t react.

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And to Maya Mirchandani (ex NDTV, now with The Wire) who definitely was not celebrating. After all, Sunetra is still infamous for expressing her “excitement” from 2009 when Narendra Modi himself caught the swine flu.

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And of course there was Stutee Mishra of The Quint, who wanted to know this:

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She has now “protected” her account and The Quint has apologized for her behavior, but the screenshots are everywhere on Twitter. Remember that back in 2017, a blogger for the Quint had wished for Modi’s assassination when he was campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.

I am sure that Lutyens media houses that run on the modern version of the centuries old Jaziya tax will seek out and give these people big promotions.

To right wingers who are incensed by what journalists have been doing, I have two things to say.

First of all, why are you even surprised? Amit Shah has crushed the Congress Party through sheer hard work and commitment. His daring election strategies have brought the political royalty of this country to their knees. What else do you expect from the political royalty and their loyal darbaris? They haven’t worked a day in their lives for nearly 20 generations.  They can’t just get to work now … those born from lucky sperm rely on luck to get by. Their only hope is that Amit Shah will be too unwell to battle with them.

The second thing is this saying in Bengali (and possibly Hindi and many other languages) that a cow will not die simply because there is a vulture sitting on a nearby tree and cursing the cow to die.

So, don’t worry. Amit Shah will be fine and very soon. In fact, expect him to be doing rallies in Bengal starting Jan 20, exactly on schedule. And then all the vultures in Lutyens Delhi will be wondering why their curses had no effect. Actually, curses never have any effect, only medical science does. And medical science will take care of Amit Shah, no problem.

Shah will be fine. It is the vultures of Lutyens that will have to continue with their miserable existence.

A few days ago, Amit Shah compared the election of 2019 to the Third Battle of Panipat. A loss would lead to 200 years of slavery. He is totally justified in saying that to prepare the morale of BJP cadres for what will be a watershed election. But please understand that this is not so. Not so at all. Because the days of royalty, of single battles deciding the fate of nations for hundreds of years is long over. Today’s royalty have to face “battle” every few months and definitely once every five years.

I am sure Amit Shah understands this very well. It is actually the Jazia collectors of Lutyens Delhi who don’t understand, because they are still looking for momentary strokes of luck, like the flying arrow that hit Hemu in the eye.

As always, asking for your help and support and best wishes, my friends, by requesting to buy my book, available on Amazon here

The smearing of Tulsi Gabbard and the Hinduphobic edge of American Liberalism

This is Rachida Tlaib, the first Muslim American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, celebrating her victory in Nov 2018 with the American flag.

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Oh, excuse me. If that doesn’t look like the red, white and blue American flag to you, that’s for a reason. It isn’t. Actually, that’s the Palestinian flag.

That a representative of the American people would choose a foreign flag over an American one did not bother their liberals one bit. They were too swept up with celebrating “diversity” to notice. This should serve as a warning to Indians as well: this is what is coming. It doesn’t stop with opposing Vande Mataram. The liberal phenomenon in India will go on till the Indian flag is replaced with … and then even further.

Liberals say they love diversity. They say they stand up for the underdog, for the minorities, for those who are outnumbered. So if there is an American representative who wants to fly the Palestinian flag, that is to be celebrated. Don’t you dare being “Islamophobic”.

Except when that underdog happens to be a Hindu. Suddenly then it is okay to enforce majoritarian prejudice against a micro-minority. Tulsi Gabbard, the Hindu Congresswoman who announced her plans to run for President of the United States, is finding this out the hard way.

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Tulsi is a Democrat. She needs to win the nomination from her own party before she has a chance of running against Trump.

If you were hoping to find American “liberals” celebrating the power of “diversity” in American democracy in the case of Tulsi Gabbard, you won’t find any. Instead, the liberal establishment has turned completely against her. Her big flaw?

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Embracing American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Incidentally, Modi has received 170 million votes, possibly the highest ever number of votes obtained by any individual in the history of the world. But that’s just not enough. Modi remains under a cloud of suspicion. For the liberal establishment, all supporters of Narendra Modi, all 170 million of them, remain under suspicion. They are all potential fascists.

You would be surprised at who remains above suspicion, though.

Bernie Sanders, for example.

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In the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders emerged as a rockstar of American liberalism. The extreme left just couldn’t get enough of all the wonderful things he was saying about Fidel Castro’s Communist Party regime in Cuba. In this video, Bernie Sanders explained how Cuba sends doctors to poor countries around the world “doing a lot of good.”

Take notes, everyone who voted for Modi, all 170 million of you. You haven’t done anything good in this world. Ever! That’s what the American liberal believes.

So what if Fidel Castro’s Communist regime bans all political parties except the ruling Communist party? So what if Cuban “elections” allow for only ONE candidate per seat, to be nominated by the Communist dictator? Their elections are fair and democratic, ours are not. They do good in this world.  Apparently we don’t.

Bernie remained the liberal rockstar, even though Hillary won the nomination. All young liberals in the Democratic Party today want to showcase endorsements from Bernie Sanders, not Hillary. Bernie’s support for Communist Cuba became just another reason liberals think he is a messiah.

But what of Hillary who won the Democratic nomination? Specifically, what about Huma Abedin, Hillary’s closest aide and shadow of sorts?

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Huma Abedin went way beyond any kind of casual association. Her family sat on various “Islamic councils” related to the Muslim Brotherhood. For 13 years, Huma Abedin herself edited a Sharia Law Journal closely associated to them.

In case you don’t know, the Muslim Brotherhood is the radical organization that overthrew Hosni Mubaraka in Egypt and assumed power. If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because a bitter war of words broke out last year when Rahul Gandhi accused the RSS of being like the radical Islamist outfit Muslim Brotherhood.

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But for American liberals, Huma Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were not an issue. Hillary won the Democratic nomination nevertheless.

Since the 2016 elections, American liberalism has only gotten worse. Keith Ellison, who was just an ordinary member of the House of Representatives, was elevated to Vice Chair of the Democratic Party.

Ellison was the first Muslim American ever elected to Congress. It didn’t matter to the liberals that Keith Ellison was a member of the radical Islamist organization called “Nation  of Islam“. It mattered little that Nation of Islam is a black supremacist organization that supports the worst kind of race theories and has Nazi like views on Jews.

Keith Ellison rose to become No. 2 in the Democratic Party!

So let’s recap:

Communist Regime in Cuba : Democratic & Liberal

Muslim Brotherhood: Democratic & Liberal

Nation of Islam : Democratic & Liberal

BJP/Narendra Modi : Fascists!

This should be a moment of clarity for Indians, both living in America and those at home who are influence by American liberal rhetoric. American Liberalism is willing to embrace Fidel Castro, Muslim Brotherhood and Nation of Islam, but rejects BJP. What can explain this other than Hinduphobia?

American Liberalism does not stand up for the underdog. It stands up for Communists and Islamists. There have no place for Hindus.

In the coming days, I am sure Tulsi Gabbard will have to issue numerous “clarifications” and  dissociate herself from her Indian roots. She will have to prove to the American left that she doesn’t like Hindus. It is her only chance.

Will she have to cover herself with a Palestinian flag to prove her “liberalism”? Will she have to embrace Castro and denounce Modi to prove her “liberalism”? Might well happen.

Friends, as always I will end with some promotion. My book Operation Johar – A Love Story is on Amazon. Will be really grateful for your support for my writing.

Mahagathbandhan has made a mistake by not taking Congress and RLD along

So the “Mahagathbandhan” in Uttar Pradesh has been officially announced. Both Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati have snapped out of the arrogance of 2017 and made a practical decision for their political survival. But as much as this alliance is a show of pragmatism, it has immediately created in both of them the arrogance that has led to Mistake No. 1.

That mistake is not taking Congress and RLD along. SP and BSP will contest 38 seats each and wont give candidates on the two seats of Amethi and Raebarelli. That leaves just 2 seats out of 80 for smaller allies. In theory these two seats could be left for RLD, but it is doubtful they would take that little.

Remember that the MGB in UP has absolutely nothing going for it other than the arithmetic. They don’t have even a semblance of chemistry. And to put all their eggs in the arithmetic basket could well be a mistake.

Nitish Kumar had a long record of developing Bihar. His image may have suffered a lot, but he carries the image of “saving Bihar” after it had been left devastated. Lalu Yadav brought in the loyal Yadav vote and the Congress did quite well in Bihar too (much to surprise of BJP). And the Mahagathbandhan won.

Despite the illusions that Akhilesh Yadav may have about the greatness of that one highway he built, he has nowhere the kind of image that Nitish had in Bihar. Yes, people sitting in audience at the NDTV Yuva conclave may clap at him talking of killing a journalist, but that’s not real janata.

Here are the totals from 2014:

For Bihar:

RJD+JDU+Cong : 44.3%

BJP+LJP+RLSP: 38.8%

That’s almost a 5% advantage for the Mahagathbandhan.

But here is what happened in Uttar Pradesh in 2014.

BJP+Apna Dal: 43.3%

SP+BSP : 41.8%

Yes, BJP had a 1.5% lead over the combined might of SP+BSP in Uttar Pradesh.

So it is tempting to compare to Bihar but there really isn’t a comparison. In 2014, the BJP/NDA was still ahead of SP+BSP, whereas it would have been far behind in Bihar.

Now I have been quite pessimistic about BJP’s chances in UP for a while because of Mahagathbandhan. I spoke of this possibility on the day that BJP won Uttar Pradesh in a landslide. It was inevitable and it has finally happened.

But what was really giving the edge to the Mahagathbandhan was the Congress. If you add the 7.5% votes of Congress in 2014 to the MGB column, then you really have the Bihar like situation. Otherwise not!

Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have made a big mistake by forgetting that they don’t actually have the arithmetic on their side.

Even if you go to 2017 Assembly results:

BJP+AD+SBSP : 41.4%

SP+BSP: 44.2%

This is quite understandable for regional parties to gain a little bit in the Assembly poll. At the Lok Sabha level, it is the BJP which should go back in the lead.

The most popular leader in UP isn’t Akhilesh or Mayawati, it is Modi. They have discounted that.

And the fact that Uttar Pradesh has a “national vote”. Another fact they overlooked. This “national vote” didn’t just come in 2014. It happened in 2009 as well, when the Congress unexpectedly won 22 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Adjusting for the weak cadre of the Congress versus the strong cadre of RSS/BJP, 22 for them in 2009 was almost as much a miracle as Modi’s 73/80. In Uttar Pradesh, during Lok Sabha elections, the “national” party seems to get seats out of thin air.

Because Uttar Pradesh wants to think they control who runs the government. And not only is Modi the most popular leader in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is now projecting the image of having “given up” in Uttar Pradesh.

Make no mistake. UP will be debating Modi vs Rahul for the Lok Sabha election. With Rahul seen as quitting Uttar Pradesh, the entire “national vote” will now accrue in favor of Modi.

Two other key points that SP+BSP are overlooking are this:

(1) Uttar Pradesh is much more urbanized than Bihar. For MGB fans, here is a humbling factoid: even in 2015, the BJP led over the combined might of the Bihar Mahagathbandhan in urban areas by a thin yet clear margin of 2%. There just weren’t many urban seats in Bihar to help the BJP. The scenario is completely different in Uttar Pradesh.

(2) In Uttar Pradesh, there is a very big “upper” caste vote, which makes the state very different from Bihar. Notice how Mayawati did not say a word about the new 10% quota. UP is one state where you can’t afford to antagonize upper caste voters. This upper caste vote will probably now go to Modi in a landslide.

And we haven’t spoken yet about other aces that BJP might have up its sleeve, such as sub quotas for OBCs and Dalits (quotas within quotas). If BJP goes in this direction in next few weeks, Non Yadav OBCs and Non Jatav Dalits will polarize in BJP’s favor.

Now, I have heard a lot about the reasoning of Congress (and RLD) being “external allies”, putting up upper caste and Jat candidates respectively to “cut votes”.

LOL!

When was the last time a vote cutter actually worked in Indian politics? I think that was in 2009 when Chiru’s Praja Rajyam Party saved Andhra Pradesh for Congress.

And in the Hindi belt?

Not since Paswan cut anti-RJD votes in the first round of Bihar polls in 2005. The BJP itself tried to deploy vote cutters in Bihar in 2015 and nothing worked. They again thought Jogi would save them in Chhattisgarh, but Jogi only made it worse. People really get this vote cutter trick now. There is no possibility of it working. Not with upper caste voters. And not with Jats who are polarized as Hindus since late 2013. See the demographics of Western Uttar Pradesh. Tell me what choice Jats have but to vote as Hindus?

So SP+BSP might be providing the bulk of the votes for the MGB, but their “winning edge” was coming from Congress and RLD. If these two parties had been included in MGB, only then they would have become invincible. Don’t worry about low turnout bypolls. They are actually quite vulnerable now.

In summary, SP+BSP is barely a “Mahagathbandhan”.  Think of it as a typical state like Madhya Pradesh, where two parties are vying for power. SP+BSP should be treated as a single regional party fighting with BJP. Except that the “regional party” has more infighting than usual. And the BJP has Modi. And the vote share gap between the two is very small.

 

 

How Business Standard misuses Google Trends data to show Rahul ahead of Modi

 

So imagine my surprise the other day when I read this Business Standard article trying to show Rahul Gandhi ahead of PM Modi using Google Trends data. Because I have myself been following Google Trends data on this for a while and they show no such thing.

So I had to check this out. It is a good thing that Business Standard provided a screenshot, which let me see the period they were checking for, which happened to be Jan 1, 2018 to Jan 6, 2019.

Okay so I checked it out on Google trends.

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Huh? All I see is “Modi” uniformly ahead of “Rahul”. What is Business Standard even talking about?

To be fair, search terms can vary. There are many ways people could be wording their searches for the PM and the Congress President. I started with “Modi” and “Rahul” because those are the shortest ways people generally use to talk about these two people.

But we need to “shop around” with some variants before we can confirm a trend. How about the respective full names: “Narendra Modi” and “Rahul Gandhi”? Looking closely at the screenshot that Business Standard provided, they seemed to have tried out the full names.

So here is the data.

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Again, Narendra Modi is almost uniformly ahead of Rahul Gandhi. An exception occurs between Dec 9 and Dec 15, 2018, right after exit poll data came out and Congress went on to form governments in 3 states.

Okay, let’s try something else to try and confirm the findings of the Business Standard. Google Trends measures two kinds of searches : these are “term searches” and “topic searches”.

As Google explains, “term searches” can be very imprecise and cover all sorts of related information, which may be irrelevant. A search for “banana sandwich” may lead to “peanut butter sandwich”!  If you want more precise searches, you need to look at “Topic searches.”

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So I decided to try a precise “Topic search” for Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi. Here is the result.

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Ouch! It got really bad for Rahul Gandhi once I tried the precise “topic search”. The PM is not only well in the lead, his lead is actually increasing.

So what am I doing wrong that I can’t seem to find the “data” that Business Standard was providing? For this I decided to read the fine print in the article. Here’s what I found.

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Ah…so they pared down the data to the news segment only, not across all categories. Okay, let me do that:

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Again, PM Modi seems to have a clear and very uniform lead. Rahul Gandhi hasn’t come close all year.

Okay, enough with the precise “topic searches”. Let me go back to the imprecise “term search” data and see what happens.

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It does look better for Rahul Gandhi but PM Modi is still in the lead. There were only 3 periods of the year when Rahul’s numbers surpassed those of the PM. One is when the Congress formed its government in 3 states this December. Another has come between May 13 and May 19. We can immediately recognize this as the period when exit polls wrongly predicted a win for the Congress in Karnataka. So at least 2 of these 3 periods can easily be dismissed as momentary surges of interest in Rahul.

But still, we can find no sign of the “data” that Business Standard was offering us. How did they find Rahul to be in the lead? Looking carefully in the screenshot, I managed to decode what they meant by “news segment”. I was looking in the category of “news”; instead I needed to look at “news search”.

Okay done.

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Huh? Modi is still way ahead! What happened here?

Oh, I know! I put “Modi” and “Rahul” again. That’s not what Business Standard did. I have to use full names! So I did.

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What? Modi ahead? Again.

Oh I know! I am so absent minded that I missed using the exact specifications required to discover a lead for Rahul Gandhi!  I used the precise “topic search” data instead of the imprecise “term search”.

So this time before clicking away, I decided to make a full checklist so that I don’t miss something.

(a) I need to put the full names “Narendra Modi” and “Rahul Gandhi”. Can’t use “Modi” and/or “Rahul”

(b) I can’t use the precise “topic searches”. I must use the imprecise “term searches”.

(c) I can’t use web searches or youtube searches. I must restrict to news.

(d) I can’t go to the category of news. I must use only the “news search” filter.

With this careful list of filters, I was finally able to get Rahul Gandhi to move ahead of Narendra Modi in Google Trends.

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Congratulations to Rahul Gandhiji and every liberal out there.

Your candidate is ahead, finally.

There’s data and there are aberrations. To confirm a trend in the real world you have to look around. Check for common sense variations. Without that your “data” would be as good as our famously inaccurate opinion poll industry. You cannot just filter your data and pare it down to a certain specification till you find the result that you are looking for.

That’s called looking at aberrations, not data.

The good news for both liberals and opinion pollsters is that bad data has never affected their social, economic or political standing. So you can carry on…

Oh and before I forget… today is my first big book event in Bengaluru, all thanks to Indic Academy.

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Request all of your best wishes and support for this. If you are in Bengaluru, please try to attend. And please consider ordering the book on Amazon.

 

Akhilesh Yadav said he should have killed a man and NDTV Yuva Conclave audience applauded

Today is their day. The much anticipated press conference of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav sitting side by side. Promising that their big alliance will unseat Modi by denying him Uttar Pradesh.

We’ll see.

There is a moment of clarity here for every Indian. Remember our intellectual class? Our liberals? The ones who pretend they want to ask the big questions: about freedom of expression, about poverty, about social justice, about the environment. They are the ones who are celebrating today what they think is a victory over Modi.

What kind of politics do Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati represent? On one side, an ex-Chief Minister who rose to power as a privileged dynast. He lived it large on public money while his term lasted. When he was voted out, he took with him even the tap fittings from the bungalow that the people of Uttar Pradesh had given him. On the other side, another ex-CM who built statues of herself all over the state. With public money. Who wears thick garlands made of bundles of cash.

But liberals will applaud this. They will applaud anything as long as an opponent of Modi is doing it.

What else can our liberals applaud? Let me show you. Here is Akhilesh Yadav interviewed by Ravish Kumar at NDTV Yuva Conclave from 2018 (watch from 37:30)

 

Akhilesh : The controversy that you are talking about, that a mail came out, I said to that man yesterday that it is my fault that I did not file an FIR and send you to jail. 

NDTV Yuva Conclave audience : (Applause.)

Ravish Kumar: You will send people to jail now, you will also do what others do?

Look at fearless reporter Ravish as he challenges Akhilesh Yadav on the matter of sending a critic to jail. Gently scolding him. And even in his scolding, Ravish inserts ‘whataboutism’ by asking Akhilesh is he will “also do what others do”.

Meanwhile, NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is applauding at the prospect of youth icon Akhilesh sending a dissenter to jail.

Wait, this is going to get a lot worse. Akhilesh is going to say much worse stuff and the applause from the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is only going to get louder. Let’s continue.

Akhilesh: I called a big journalist from Delhi to Lucknow. I told him ‘You have taken money and referred to me as Aurangazeb in your writings. I am ready to pay you twice as much, you should have told me.’

Nice! Akhilesh Yadav boasts openly that he is ready to bribe journalists. Honest journalist Ravish Kumar, who is sitting right in front of him and holding a mike, is barely audible.

Of course. Let’s go on.

Akhilesh: But I let that man also go. This is the mistake I made. I should have also pulled out a sword like Aurangazeb and killed the man on the spot.

NDTV Yuva Conclave Audience: Massive round of applause.

Yes, massive applause for an ex-CM saying he should have pulled out a sword and murdered a critic!

Thankfully, Ravish Kumar, somewhat embarrassed, meddles at this point.

Ravish : You are talking of violence now.

NDTV Yuva Conclave Audinece : (Applause for Akhilesh Yadav continues)

Ravish: (repeating) You are talking of violence. How can you talk like this?

I’ll tell you Ravish why Akhilesh has the courage to talk like this. Because the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is applauding him and egging him on. And because he knows he has the license of “secularism” to say whatever he wants.

If ever there was a time for blackening the screen, for shutting down the broadcast immediately, this would have been it. But Akhilesh Yadav knew that Ravish would never do that. That’s why he was talking like this.

Can you believe it still goes on? And gets worse?

Akhilesh: I am speaking out of anger because somebody compared me to Aurangazeb!! And I told that man… I will tell you his name someday if you ask me in private … aur … (inaudible).

NDTV Yuva Conclave audience : (Laughter then applause)

Even Ravish was smiling. The audience was laughing. To them, this context is really really funny. Believe it or not. They just can’t stop laughing and applauding. Remember Akhilesh just spoke of killing a person!

Ravish: But please don’t talk about killing somebody.

Very well Ravish. Thanks for the sage advice. I will remember your big smile right before you said this.

If you watch Ravish Kumar’s show, you will think he hasn’t smiled in five years. All because of internet trolls who post insulting comments about him. But for Akhilesh Yadav’s words, he smiles, before gently reprimanding him.

Who cares about dissent? Who cares about free speech? What about intolerance?

Imagine if Modi had spoken like this. About people who have compared him to Aurangazeb and Hitler and much worse. Or for that matter, if any BJP leader, or any family member of any BJP leader or any business partner of any family member of any BJP leader had spoken like this. It would have been news for days. It would have been in international media as well, raising alarm over growing “intolerance” in India.

But for Akhilesh Yadav they applaud.

In this laughter and applause from the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience lies the key to understanding Indian secularism and Indian liberalism. That there is really no such thing. Only some self interested partisans who use these high sounding words to justify their politics. And to grovel before a Dynasty.

Why Sheila as Delhi Cong chief means AAP Cong alliance could be over

Alliance. I think this is the one word that has been giving BJP supporters nightmares since 2014. Not ordinary alliances where one big party ties up with a teeny weeny local party. But two big forces in a state, who sink their differences and decades of bitterness to come together against the BJP.

These are the so called Grand Alliances. The one in Bihar didn’t last. But it did tremendous damage to the BJP back in 2015.

Along with UP, where BSP+SP looks set to be finalized (thankfully they have made the mistake of dropping Cong … will write about this tomorrow), there is the worry about Delhi.

As of now, BJP would easily win all 7 seats in Delhi. But if AAP and Congress come together, this could easily drop to a big fat zero.

This is why the news yesterday of Sheila Dikshit being appointed Delhi Congress President should be music to the ears of BJP supporters.

Some RW folks on Twitter disagree with me on this. They point to the fact that every Congressi will listen to the high command. They point to Sheila Dikshit recently saying that she is willing to go along with alliance if the high command wants.

There is also a DNA report doing the rounds that says Congress and AAP will contest 3 seats each and one seat will be given to Yashwant Sinha, who will contest as an independent.

I’m sorry. I don’t believe that. AAP is a force in just 7 seats in the whole country. To think that they would give 4 of these away seems silly to me. That too, one seat would be simple thrown away by giving it to Yashwant Sinha.

Further, let me show you this.

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We all know that Janata ka Reporter usually knows what is going on within AAP. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have given any credibility to a report in this rag.

But my belief in no alliance stems not from Congress or Sheila Dikshit, but from my understanding of Arvind Kejriwal. Yes, I know that both Sheila Dikshit and Arvind Kejriwal are shameless enough to sink their bitter history and join hands against Modi. I know that shame won’t be a barrier to alliance.

However, I think Kejriwal faces a much bigger barrier than shame. It is the insecurity that defines him as a person and the insecurity that has shaped his politics. Can he overcome that?

I really doubt it.

Think about it. Kejriwal is a man who occupies himself with finishing the political careers of people like Shazia Ilmi or Gurmeet Ghuggi.

You might be wondering: who is Gurmeet Ghuggi? Google him. You may never have heard of him. But Kejriwal was so worried that he decided to finish Ghuggi’s career too, just in case… No matter how small, for Arvind Kejriwal, everyone is a threat.

Kejriwal is a very petty man who is committed to ending the career of anyone who shows even the slightest bit of leadership ability.

Will Kejriwal really be able to tolerate the thought of having Sheila Dikshit back in Delhi? Sheila Dikshit has a big image in Delhi. Her coming back to the city must be giving nightmares to Kejriwal.

Remember that it doesn’t matter what Sheila Dikshit does. Or even thinks. It is about a very frightened man who jumps up whenever his shadow gets too close.

And if you think about it, Kejriwal doesn’t have very much to gain from an alliance with Congress either. What will he gain? 4-5 Lok Sabha seats?

But Kejriwal already has 4 Lok Sabha seats. And he has made sure to destroy the careers of each one of those 4 Lok Sabha MPs because he sees every single one of them as a threat.

So what will Kejriwal do with a Congress alliance? Win 5 seats and create 5 more headaches for himself? And would he want to have ministers in a shaky coalition government? No way! Central Ministers from AAP would be even bigger threats to Kejriwal’s ego. This is a man who let go of an easy victory in Punjab because he was worried what would happen if his party created more leaders. Kejriwal is really better off losing than winning in 2019.

Of course, you may disagree. You may think Kejriwal has learned from his mistakes. But to me it looks just the opposite. Each defeat has only increased his insecurity and made him look more and more inward, more and more paranoid about keeping whatever he has than breaking new ground.

Let’s see.

 

 

 

Congress promised quota for economically weaker sections in its 2014 & 2009 manifesto : why the ruckus now?

So both houses of Indian Parliament have now passed the 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill, clearing the decks for 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Sections on top of the existing 50% quota.

While the Congress did “support” the Bill, you wouldn’t think that was the case from the manner in which they behaved over the last two days. They fought and argued and quibbled over every possible little detail.

The lowest point was when the Congress (along with many other opposition parties) protested against the extension of the Rajya Sabha session in order to debate and vote on the all important Constitutional Amendment Bill.

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Now this can only be seen as an insult to Mahatma Gandhi and the people of India. We have here representatives of the people protesting because they have been asked to work for ONE extra day! That too members of the Rajya Sabha!

Presumably, the Congress realized soon enough that it would be hard to get the public to feel bad for poor Rajya Sabha MPs having to work for one extra day! And that Rajya Sabha wasn’t going to be adjourned without debate and voting on the bill. So they finally came back into the house, where they kicked and screamed till the very last moment.

From the conduct of the Congress on the floor of the House yesterday, you would never guess that PM Narendra Modi was merely fulfilling a promise/demand that the Congress had been making for years now. Please take a look at this, right below the “detailed action plan” proposed by Congress in its manifesto for the 2014 General Election.

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There you have it:

The Indian National Congress is committed to finding a way forward for introducing reservation in education and employment for economically weaker sections of all communities without in any way affecting existing reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

As clear as could be. Yet, we did not see very much of this “commitment” on the floor of the House yesterday.

The interesting thing is that the exact same promise appears in the manifesto of the Congress Party for the 2009 General Elections as well. Here it is:

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The exact same promise in almost the exact same language! The issue of providing quota benefits to economically weaker sections must have been very close to the heart of Madam Sonia Gandhi, don’t you think?

Now, this raises all manner of interesting questions. The first is why the Congress played such a negative role yesterday when Narendra Modi actually moved ahead and did something the Congress itself had been trying to do for at least 10 years now.

Another question that must be asked is why members of the liberal intellectual ecosystem, who double up as unofficial Congress spokespersons on mainstream and social media, had no problem with the idea back when Congress proposed it? For the last two days, these people have been whining openly about the concept of reservation for Economically Weaker Sections. Some have gone to the extent of saying that it undermines the spirit of the Constitution. But why did these people not express such fears when Congress Party included this in its manifesto? Did they say at the time in 2009 and 2014 that the Congress Party under Sonia and Rahul Gandhi might be trying to undermine the Constitution of India?

But the biggest question is why the Congress itself did nothing about this promise after it won the General Elections in 2009. This was a manifesto promise, made in writing, wasn’t it?

Was it supposed to be just another of the Congress promises that are meant to merely string people along, preferably for decades? Something on the lines of Gareebi Hatao, made in 1971. A promise that was supposed to remain permanently in future, for the purpose of harvesting votes in the present?

Recently, we have seen the Congress ecosystem, overtly or covertly, put its hand into the cookie jar of all sorts of reservation lollipops for all sorts of people. Be it in Gujarat with Patidar agitation or in Haryana with Maratha agitation. The Congress ecosystem and the various quota agitation leaders knew fully well that nothing could really be done about the 50% cap unless the Constitution is amended.

And so PM Modi did go ahead and amend the Constitution. Why all the complaints now? It has now become clear that these movements had the sole objective of harassing BJP governments in various states and little more.

Economic backwardness can exist within every community.  And thus, the BJP government has actually gone ahead and done something concrete that will help deserving people from every community. The only losers here are those who were planning to slowly milk this issue by keeping it going for decades. Hence the heartburn.