After Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, tribals of Bengal turn to BJP

This may actually be the most under-reported story of the last two decades. No, I am not talking about just one story or one election. I am talking about a political process that has easily stretched for the last two decades, with hardly any media or academic willing to acknowledge the obvious.

This is the constant movement of India’s tribals towards the BJP. The Sangh has worked on the ground for years to establish a base among tribals. It is difficult to identify a precise “jump off point” at which the drift of tribals towards the BJP strengthened into a wave.

But if I had to, I would pick 2000-2002 as the big inflection point in tribal politics in India, when the sands shifted decisively towards BJP. There were two big things that happened in this period.

The first was the creation of the two tribal dominated states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in 2000. It was the realization of the legitimate aspiration of tribal people across the nation to have states they could consider their own. These aspirations were addressed and accommodated within the national mainstream without letting sub-national identities become a threat to the unity of the country. As time passed, residual feelings of alienation among tribals mostly evaporated… to the point that one could say they almost do not exist today. Mind you that all this was achieved against the best efforts of a marauding missionary mafia.

The second was more of a symptom rather than a cause. The Gujarat riots of 2002 were unique in India in the sense that they swept through the tribal heartland of the state. It showed that a sense of Hindu unity flowed through Gujarat, uniting the city dwellers of Amdavad with the tribals inhabitants of Dang district. In fact, Modi would never have gotten his famous 2002 mandate without the tribal belt of Central Gujarat rallying behind him. In that election, the BJP actually lost seats in every other corner of the state.

(Aside: Without the tribals of Gujarat, the BJP would have lost the just concluded 2017 Gujarat election as well.)

I think I have pointed out numerous times on this blog that BJP has always dominated Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. I don’t know if I have ever emphasized how widespread this phenomenon is and how it applies to tribals across India.

What about Bhil youth of Madhya Pradesh? Last year, Bhil youth sent requests to the Prime Minister asking for permission to volunteer in Jammu and Kashmir; to fight with our Army against stone pelters.

Such stories will cause tremendous acidity to the academics at JNU and other Break India forces, who have always seen tribal identities as a faultline to be exploited. You just have to show them the pride on the faces of the graduating boys and girls of the “Bastariya Brigade,” formed to fight the Communists in their last bastions.

One of the key underpinnings of the BJP’s famous win in Tripura was its tie up with the Indigeneous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which the ruling CPI(M) (ironically) called anti-national. What the BJP did supremely well was ride Bengali support AND tribal support with elan. The party managed to soothe their mutual anxieties and create a common resistance against the Communists, the *real* enemies of India.

When the BJP made a valiant effort to enter Kerala in 2016, remember that the first doors it knocked on were in the dirt poor tribal area of Kerala. This is the part of Kerala that lives like Somalia, while the rest of the state is fattened on money from Missionaries and the Gulf.

Remember Madhu? The poor man who was tied up like an animal and lynched by tolerant Commies and Islamists? He left behind nothing except a few pots and pans in his hut. And an Indian liberaldom that was complicit in ignoring his death. Madhu belonged to this deprived tribal part of Kerala.

No wonder then that as the BJP floods into Odisha, it does so from the tribal areas of Odisha bordering Chhattisgarh. Coastal Odisha is still very much Navin Patnaik territory.

And there is a reason BJP workers like Ajit Murmu are being slaughtered in Bengal. Notice the name : Murmu. A tribal. There is a reason TMC supporting professors working at top Indian institutions are going on news channels and spouting racist hatred against “outsiders.”

Because in the struggle against Islamist forces, the Bengali tribal has taken the lead versus the Bengali ‘Bhadralok.’

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Yes, the fight on the ground has begun from Purulia and Jhargram districts. The tribals are fed up of complaining about the TMC’s fascism. When the people unite, no dictator can stop them. That’s why, even in an election as rigged as Bengal Panchayat polls, the BJP has exceeded 1/3rd of the seats in Purulia and Jhargram. How far is that from a majority, anyway? And what’s going to happen when the TMC cannot use the might of the State Election Commission in the General Election?

The local BJP has also grabbed the moment with both hands. Ever since the day results were announced, the party has been touring tribal areas like there is no tomorrow, holding victory rallies, gathering its supporters, preparing them and keeping them charged up for the elections to come.

Now you know why this story goes under-reported. Because reporting it would force Break India reporters to come face to face with the shallowness of the Brahmin-Baniya tag they do desperately want to stick to BJP.

 

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Why the Congress is finished in Karnataka

Congress has made a huge mistake. They are going to pay dearly for this. They might actually never recover from this.

The scenario is very simple to understand. Nobody seriously believes that Congress (78 seats) is going to support JDS (37 seats) for a full five year term. At some point or the other, the Congress’ greed will get the better of its judgement and it will pull down the government.

Guess what happens then? The Congress will face a backlash from the Vokkaligas for pulling down Kumaraswamy’s government. The Lingayats are already furious with the Congress. Between the Lingayat belt in the north of Karnataka and the Vokkaliga belt in the south, the Congress will be crushed.

In effect, Congress is riding a tiger that it cannot get off. But it will have to jump at some point and then the  tiger is going to eat them.

The Congress actually started the Karnataka election well, with a decent plan of action. The JDS had been out of power for 10 years and being a small regional party with very limited resources, it seemed like their days were numbered. The Congress plan was to destroy the JDS completely in its home base and take control of the Old Mysore region. An expeditionary measure was also undertaken in Northern Karnataka to try and divide the Lingayat vote.

Both plans flopped and miserably so.  The Lingayats polarized against the attempt to divide Hindus. And in the Old Mysore region, the Congress has now revived the JDS. The image of Kumaraswamy has now been bolstered to become the face of the state. The Congress is divided between Siddaramaiah, Parameswara and Kharge. Even if they wanted to project a Congress face to keep Kumaraswamy from monopolozing the stage, they wont be able to agree on one.

Here is a basic rule of politics. Never give up your pole position. You may never get it back.

Long years ago, the BJP made this mistake in Uttar Pradesh, after the elections of 2002. That year, the Samajwadis emerged as the largest party, winning 143 seats. The BSP won 98 seats and the BJP 88 seats.

Desperate to hold on to (the appearance of) power in Uttar Pradesh at any cost, the BJP offered the CM post to Mayawati.

By the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had melted down in Uttar Pradesh. By 2007 Assembly elections, the BJP had practically ceased to matter in Uttar Pradesh elections, which became a BSP vs SP affair. First Mayawati won a majority in 2007 and then Mulayam won a majority in 2012. The BJP was reduced to a mere onlooker.

Today the BJP is back in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to the turnaround scripted by Modi-Shah. But for 12 years, the BJP was nowhere in the state. The pole position that it surrendered in 2002 would never have come back, except for Modi-Shah.

Does the Congress dynasty really have it in its genes to perform that kind of an electoral miracle in Karnataka?

In another large southern state, the Congress has now agreed to play second fiddle to a regional party. It is only a matter of time before the Congress becomes a small supporting party in Karnataka to Kumaraswamy’s JDS. The Congress has been down this path before, becoming a support party for Samajwadis in Uttar Pradesh, Lalu Yadav in Bihar and Hemant Soren in Jharkhand.

I would call on BJP supporters to understand the real meaning of “Congress Mukt Bharat.” There is a difference between defeating the Congress in a state and making a state “Congress mukt.”

“Congress mukt” does not mean Congress living on as the main opposition. For instance, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh have seen the Congress lose repeatedly to the  BJP. But these states can hardly be considered “Congress mukt.”

Indeed, “Congress mukt” means that the Congress is neither in a position to form the government nor become the opposition. And from this point of view, what happened yesterday is actually a step forward towards Congress mukt Bharat. A JDS government with BJP as the main opposition is more “Congress mukt” than a BJP government with Congress as main opposition.

And Mamata Banerjee was the first to recognize this reality. Her tweet on this has been absolutely vicious:

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Congress was third in line (technically even 4th) to be congratulated. She made it a point not to mention Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy by name AND not to mention Rahul by name. And just in case somebody still didn’t catch the drift, she spelled out that it’s a victory for the “regional front.”

In the days to come, such humiliation for the Congress will mount. The Congress for its part seems to be willing to swallow it. And when somebody is willing to offer concessions, in the relentlessly competitive sphere of Indian politics, they can expect to be taken to the cleaners.

Karnataka : No full stops in politics

This afternoon B S Yeddyurappa spoke on the floor of Karnataka’s Vidhana Soudha with tears in his eyes. As those who had been defeated in the people’s court looked on, hungrily waiting to devour the mandate. They couldn’t beat him one on one. He shook their foundations, reducing the erstwhile ruling party to a whimpering support dog.

The Congress doesn’t mind eating last, eating the scraps and leftovers, as long it has something to eat.

There is a reason the BJP wanted the proceedings of the floor test telecast live. Perhaps, both by design and by accident, the grand old man of the Karnataka BJP is delivering the all too familiar Vajpayee moment for BJP in the state.

“Hum sankhyabal ke saamne sir jhukate hain aur aapko vishwas dilate hain ki jo karya humne apne haath mein liya hai, wo jab tak rashtra ke uddyeshya mein poora nahin kar lenge, tab tak vishram se nahin baithenge…”

Which BJP supporter can forget these words?

Who can forget the delight of the Congress when these words were uttered? But the Congress would do well to remind themselves of all the water that has flowed down the Ganga since that day and ask: who has really grown in strength since that day?

Just a reminder in the immediate context of Karnataka. At that time, the BJP was by far the third force in Karnataka, with just 17% of the vote in the state. Today, Congress is hoping to play second fiddle to JDS to keep BJP out of power in the same Assembly.

When Atalji handed in that resignation, would you believe that the Congress had its own majority and its own Chief Minister in Odisha? Seems surreal….even unreal today, does it not? There was a day when Congress could actually have a Chief Minister in Odisha; today it would be lucky to save deposits.

In those days, the Congress used to be the main opposition in West Bengal. Today the Congress teams up with the CPI(M) not for power in Bengal, but hoping that their combined strength can prevent BJP from becoming the main opposition. From trying to form the government to forming a coalition to have a chance of forming the opposition…

Believe it or not, the Congress used to win seats even in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in those days. In fact, it would even aim for a majority. Others who fell short of a majority would woo the Congress MLAs and get them to defect. Today, the Congress trails the Apna Dal in Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP meanwhile has grown from strength to strength. It has broken down nearly every demographic barrier that political pundits imagined would stop its relentless march. They tried to get a Brahmin-Baniya tag to stick to the BJP. The BJP kept its Brahmin-Baniya votes and went out and got itself OBC and Dalit votes.

And for good measure, the BJP now dominates the two tribal states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

They said BJP was a North Indian party, today the BJP has secured the North East and is the largest party in Karnataka and Maharashtra. In the East, Mamata Banerjee is running scared of the BJP’s rising tide. So is Naveen Patnaik in Odisha.

The day Atalji handed in that resignation in 1996, the Congress Party which had forever won power on its own, also gave up all hope of ever winning its own majority again. That day Atalji couldn’t find enough allies. Today Modi does not need allies to control the Lok Sabha. Today it is the Congress that scrounges for allies, while the BJP hunts on its own.

With today’s floor test, the Congress has consigned itself to second fiddle in one more state. It is now a footmat for a regional party.  It will never win a majority in Karnataka again.

In the months and years to come, this is a scene that you may see repeated. Perhaps you will see the BJP fall 10 seats short in Bengal, or 5 seats short in Odisha or Kerala. Some BJP leader in Bengal or Odisha will be standing where Yeddyurappa is standing today.

You will see all manner of alliances … a CPIM+Cong+TMC Mahagathbandhan in Bengal, a CPIM+Cong Mahagathbandhan in Kerala and a BJD+Cong Mahagathbandhan in Odisha.

The show will go on, with no full stops anywhere. But the forward march of the BJP shall continue. No force in the world can stop an idea whose moment has come.

The two things that haven’t gone well for BJP in Karnataka

After nearly a week of “gung-ho” posts about Karnataka, it is time for BJP to do a few calculations about things that have gone wrong in recent elections.

Whether BJP will win the floor test tomorrow, I do not know. I am fairly unconcerned about that. If BJP wins, we win. If BJP loses, the BJP has a highly unstable tottering coalition govt to take potshots at all through till the 2019 election. In that case, prepare for 25 seats in Karnataka in 2019. As long as the BJP can ensure that Cong-JDS do not have a seat sharing arrangement in 2019, we got nothin’ to worry about regarding Karnataka.

When you pulverize your enemies too much, like in Uttar Pradesh, they get desperate. This is when they are at their most dangerous. When BJP won 325/403, I said that making Yogi the CM was a desperate gamble. And not surprisingly, the weight of the defeat pushed SP & BSP into each others’ arms. Had we got 150 seats in Karnataka, the BJP would have been facing a Cong-JDS mahagathbandhan in no time…  If BJP had won Uttar Pradesh with 200-210 seats, we would be seeing a much gentler climb towards 2019 right now.

But this post is not about that. I just want to focus on the two little things that seem to have gone wrong with BJP’s election machinery of late. These are not to take anything away from a sterling performance in Karnataka. In fact, this is to say don’t let victory gloss over the shortcomings. EVERY little crease must be identified and smoothened out, because 2019 is going to be a dogfight.

The first is that there appears to be some element of weakness in the last mile strategy of Panna Pramukhs. In Gujarat as well as in Karnataka, the bulk of the marginal seats appear to have gone with the Congress. Just because we won is no excuse to forget these shortcomings. The BJP got a 50% voteshare in Gujarat, but couldn’t sweep in terms of seats. How did this happen? Similarly, in Karnataka, the BJP lost a number of seats by small margins. In fact, those marginal seats may well have cost the BJP a government in Karnataka.

There could be a number of explanations for this. Are BJP workers getting lethargic, over dependent on Modi? What happened to the famed “1 booth – 10 youth” approach? Victory in an election is based on winning booths.

Worse, could it be that BJP supporters are not feeling enthused? Perhaps they are sitting at home?

This is related to my second point. The BJP should have swept Bengaluru but it didn’t. In fact, the BJP trailed behind the Congress in the cyber city.

I understand that the demographics of Bengaluru is different from BJP’s typical urban strongholds. A huge portion of the city’s lower income groups come from states with populations that are actively anti-BJP. Such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

In light of recent events, some people would say … add the Telugus … but I am holding back on that. First of all, the Telugu states don’t have large “anti-BJP populations.” By an “anti-BJP population,” I mean people of Hindu background who have  some virulent antipathy towards BJP. You can find such groups in Bengal, in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu. But not in the Telugu states. Not voting for a party is one thing. Having an active, virulent hatred towards them is another.

Secondly, anecdotal evidence suggests that the effort of the big parties in Andhra Pradesh to paint Modi as some kind of super villain has met with very lukewarm success. A lot of trolls have been employed and I have encountered some of them online, but much of the “anger” comes off as too manufactured … too astro turf … almost like fan clubs of one actor swearing at another.

Thirdly, I told you folks once : Andhra Pradesh is my favorite state… LOL!

One has to address the question head on : Did Bengaluru’s middle class BJP supporters stay home? The anecdotal evidence of “middle class disenchantment” has been mounting for some time. So far, it must be said, that little impact had been witnessed on election outcomes. Despite all the noise, the BJP swept every single seat in Surat. Some seats of Ahmedabad were won by over 1 lakh votes.

Outside Gujarat … the BJP recently won hands down in Gurgaon municipality. Despite the fact that the media was savaging the BJP at the time of elections over murder of a  child at Ryan International School (remember this?) The BJP was accused of everything, from lathicharging parents to colluding with the school administration, but voters seemed to be completely unaffected.

But Bengaluru? What explains the fact that BJP got lesser seats in 2018 than in 2013? Did the overtaxed middle class get fed up of being “cheated” in favor of the less fortunate for the last five budgets in a row? This question deserves an answer … a diagnosis and if needed a cure.

 

Durbaris are angry because BJP refuses to play dead

Why are the TV news anchors squirming like never before as B S Yeddyurappa is sworn in as Karnataka CM? Do you think these people do not know the long history of Congress governors acting in arbitrary manner? Do you think they do not know how Congress dictators/Prime Ministers would dismiss Opposition state governments en masse … sometimes up to nine state governments at a time?

Of course it is about partisanship. Some of it is about personal embarrassment. After all, many of India’s most well known anchors spent much time covering Karnataka, following Siddaramaiah around, declaring him a “folk hero.” Then, the folk hero lost by 36000 votes. Now these anchors want to discuss everything except their shocking incompetence in analyzing election outcomes. They also want to keep people from discussing how Rahul Gandhi failed again.

But there is one more factor. And I believe its the biggest one. It’s their anger and surprise at a new Modi-fied BJP that refuses to play dead. Let me explain.

The year was 1999. Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government collapsed because it was one vote short. One vote!

That was the old BJP, always getting blindsided, fooled or taken for a ride.

The BJP struck a deal with BSP in the 90s to form the government in Uttar Pradesh based on a rotational CM post. Of course, Mayawati would go first. And of course, when it was the BJP’s turn to have the CM post, the BSP refused support.

Same in Karnataka. In 2006, the BJP struck a deal with JDS to rule the state based on a rotational CM. Of course, Kumaraswamy would go first. And of course, when it was BJP’s turn to have the CM post, the JDS refused support. How could it possibly be otherwise?

In the Bihar elections of 2000, the Samata Party (precursor of JDU) won just 34 seats. The BJP won nearly twice as many, i.e., 67 seats. Guess who the BJP offered the CM post? Nitish Kumar! And while Nitish’s government didn’t last, he had become the face of NDA in Bihar, a mistake for which BJP continues to pay even to this day.

The BJP is, by any standard, an electoral behemoth. In the last seven elections, the party has always won at least 100 Lok Sabha seats. To see how big this is, just try to count how many parties in India have ever touched 50 Lok Sabha seats even once!

But the BJP always punched below its weight and often laughably so. I wouldn’t say the durbaris “liked” the old BJP … but they were at least capable of coming to terms with it. As long as the BJP, even after emerging victorious, was willing to fall to the ground and beg forgiveness for winning … and promise the nobles in the ecosystem that their high status would not be affected.

As long as the BJP with 182 Lok Sabha seats in 1999 was willing to grovel before allies, willing to give them all the key Cabinet positions. Even the ministries that were technically with the BJP were offered to people who could be best described as newcomers and/or outsiders. Stool pigeons of the Congress saw it as an acknowledgement of intellectual inferiority on part of the BJP. You will see folks like Ram Guha often write fondly and with much satisfaction about this.

In other words, the ecosystem could make some sort of peace with the BJP, as long as they were willing to prostrate before the elite and play dead. This is the sort of mentality with which an arrogant Amartya Sen declared after 2014 results that he would “allow” Modi to rule. At that point, they were still very much consumed by the belief that Modi would ask them for their “permission,” whatever that means.

The thing is that their “permission” meant absolutely nothing to Modi. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

In fact, Modi would positively revel in showing how little he cared for that class. And this is what they cannot digest.

The BJP has been an electoral behemoth for a long time. But in terms of institutions, the party had almost no influence. Arguably, the BJP’s institutional imprint is smaller than even a tiny party like the CPIM. Twice in the last 20 years, the CPIM fell short of the minimum electoral performance required to maintain the status of a ‘national party.’ Both times, the Election Commission rewrote the definition of a national party, tailored it to suit the CPIM’s requirements and hand delivered them to the CPIM’s headquarters at A K Gopalan Bhavan in Delhi.

This is what *real power* looks like. When the institutions proactively surrender before you. The CPIM barely needed to ask. The Election Commission fell at their feet proactively without a murmur.

Compare this to the BJP which was running circles around the Election Commission in 2007 begging to keep its recognition merely as a political party.

Do I even have to remind people of the time the Supreme Court of India humbly agreed to the Emergency, pointing out that Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial move was almost “maternal”?

This status of the BJP as an outcast endured right up to the moment of May 16, 2014. Let me remind you that Narendra Modi, even in the campaign summer of 2014, could not get permission to address so much as a rally in Varanasi city, in the heart of a seat that he was contesting himself. The place where Modi was allowed to address a rally was so far from the population that hardly anybody could make it there : it was his only thinly attended rally in Uttar Pradesh that year.

A day before voting, the EC raided Modi’s offices in Varanasi. A smug NDTV announced to its viewers that “campaign material was seized” from the election office.

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Of course you can’t punish a party for having election material in its election office. It was about sending the BJP a message … reminding them of their “aukat.” Such was the complete, total and utter humiliation of the BJP, even days before they swept to power.

But tables have turned ever so slightly under the Modi regime. For the first time, at least a few decisions from India’s various “institutions” have gone in favor of the BJP. That is why you see the Congress agitating to have the EVMs canceled, the Chief Election Commissioner sacked and the Chief Justice of India impeached.  The Raj Bhavans across state capitals have always been part of the servants quarters at 10 Janpath. They have always been used to show the BJP its place.

Suddenly, the Congress Party and the ecosystem sees a different face of Raj Bhavan. The people making the decisions have changed. And you can’t raid the BJP’s election office any more for the “crime” of possessing campaign material. That’s why they are so angry. Let them.

 

Journalists were seeing ghosts in Karnataka poll analysis

This is probably an arrogant post. It is also an angry and triumphant one. I said it clearly that a BJP defeat in Karnataka would be against the “basic rules of politics.” I said that no incumbent can ever raise its vote share, except when the election becomes more bipolar … in which case the incumbent gains but the opposition gains more.

And that is *exactly* what happened in Karnataka! The Congress gained 1.4% vote (from 36.6% to 38%), but the BJP gained 4% of the vote (from 32.4% to 36.4%). I copy pasted one of my tweets here showing a 30 year trend of BJP’s rising vote share in Karnataka (with a mere 1% penalty for anti-incumbency in 2013) and said there is no way this trend can suddenly reverse course. No compelling reason in 2018 and definitely not when BJP has a leader like Modi and definitely not in a state like Karnataka where govts change every five years.

The day after the Lingayat religion decision, I said that people would never be fooled by a decision made 10 days before announcement of polls. And here is what I said on April 2 on Siddaramaiah’s last minute surge that the whole media was seeing in their dreams:

To me, Siddaramaiah’s last minute “surge” and negation of anti-incumbency seems very similar to the “feel good factor” that media created around Akhilesh and Harish Rawat. I don’t see Siddu coming back.”

The only difference between Siddu and Harish Rawat? Rawat lost from BOTH the seats he contested. Siddu lost Chamundeswari by 36000 votes (LOL), but he saved the blushes in Badami by a mere 1696 votes.

This is one for the geeks : when was the last time a sitting CM lost his/her seat by 36000 votes? How often does that happen?

I simply cannot believe … I simply cannot believe that political analysts on TV couldn’t do the basic anti-incumbency math. Because they kept indulging in wishful thinking. Here is Rajdeep, with his “10 takeaways on Karnataka elections” in which he ends up calling Siddaramaiah a “folk hero.”

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Some folk hero he turned out to be, losing by 36000 votes. I have no hesitation in saying that what we saw as “analysis” throughout the Karnataka polls was a pile of garbage produced by journalists who were either drunk or too compromised or were indulging in wishful thinking.

Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai now … and whichever channel he has been on …  has predicted a Congress victory in every one of the last 3 Assembly Elections in Karnataka : 2008, 2013 and 2018.

And the BJP won two of them.

It tells you that the elites just don’t get it. Because they are products of an ecosystem that thrives on dividing India, they are the ones obsessed with the North-South divide. Through wishful thinking, they have convinced themselves that no BJP wind can blow south of the Vindhyas.

But it is not BJP that stops at the Vindhyas … it is their common sense.

You elites really should have seen it when crowds in Karnataka were shouting at the translators to shut up… so that they could listen to Modi uninterrupted. But you didn’t see it coming.

And no, yelling at the BJP spokesperson on the day of results won’t change the outcome. I am talking to Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep Sardesai. If you feel like people of Karnataka have spat on your face, go wash it off with soap. Don’t blame the BJP spokie on your show.

I am talking to the entire panel of experts and analysts who were spewing garbage. Sandeep Shastri, of CSDS fame (shame). Or Bhupendra Chaubey, who likes to put a lot of weight into his “done and dusted” line.  Or T S Sudhir and the ones who claim to have special expertise on the South.

At least on the evening after the election, when the exit poll results came out, you should have known it was over. All you had was one outlier poll from Axis when 6 other polls were predicting BJP as the winner.

But what we saw next was an act of faith, rather than reason. Grown professionals on big channels suspending all their intelligence and choosing to believe the wildly impossible.

The next morning Siddaramaiah came out saying he was willing to step aside. Does that sound like a winning CM? Of course not!

But, did the durbaris listen? Did they read the writing on the wall? Here is dumbass T S Sudhir writing in Firstpost.

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Awww… Siddaramaiah’s statement admitting defeat was “taken out of context.” In fact, it was actually a master stroke, in fact a Machiavellian way for Siddu to put pressure on high command in Delhi. Ya… slave putting pressure on his owners. This T S Sudhir was willing to believe even that.

This convoluted theory soon made its rounds all over the ecosystem. Soon enough, the India Today panel was saying it too.

But it was always just that … a desperate rationalization …. the desperate cooing of Rahul Gandhi’s stool pigeons in TV studios who refused to believe that their icon had failed AGAIN.

The next day, a day before counting, Congress MP B K Hariprasada was lavishing praise on Deve Gowda, calling him a “great secular leader.” Everyone knew that Ghulam Nabi Azad had been sent to Bengaluru to rub his nose at Gowda’s door, while BJP had shown zero interest.

Anybody should have seen this as Congress Party preparing for certain defeat.

But NO!

Not in TV studios. They had an explanation for everything. Nothing was as it seemed … an admission of defeat. They were all secret masterstrokes, whose political genius was beyond our IQ.

By Monday night, I got the feeling that even if Siddaramaiah walked into some TV studios and swore on Nehru’s autobiography that Congress was going to lose, the anchors still wouldn’t believe him.

The signs were always there. The math was clear. The historical pattern was obvious. The optics of the campaign were for all to see and so were the drooping shoulders in the Congress camp.

But they didn’t see it. They were seeing ghosts in their analysis. Because they so desperately … so desperately … wanted to see Rahul winning.

Dumbasses.

As democracy dies in Bengal, nation looks away

Okay, so I have written three back to back posts predicting a win for BJP in Karnataka. The results will be in by this time tomorrow, so I am not going to tempt fate any further 🙂

With all the excitement about Karnataka, I know it is hard to focus elsewhere. Especially on Bengal, where a big Panchayat Election is unfolding right now. Remember, it is actually states like Bengal and Odisha that hold the key to 2019.

And so far, things have progressed in Bengal along expected lines. TMC Ministers out on the streets, marshalling their cadre, making sure voters cannot step onto the street. Once in a while, a minister like Rabindra Ghosh is beating up a BJP supporter by his own hand.

At places, TMC goons set up a line that nobody else is allowed to cross.

Oh yeah! Who do these common people think they are? Citizens of some free country? LOL! This is Bengal and in Bengal there is no place for weaklings. Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said it himself yesterday : Don’t join politics if you don’t have the courage.

Of course Indian liberals are watching and they are delighted. Their low level supporters can barely conceal their joy and are bursting out with glee like this:

What did I tell you? Indian liberals don’t just have double standards against Hindus and BJP. What they are doing is rightly called “apartheid.” Across this nation everyday, BJP supporters get arrested for angry tweets. Some guys who were presumably BJP supporters dared to yell at a celebrity journalist in Bengaluru a few days ago. They were called in by the police to explain their behavior … they had to go with a lawyer. While yelling at journos is (still) covered by free speech, be prepared to get a lawyer and a call from the police station if you dare to exercise that right.

Meanwhile, the other side openly celebrates rape of BJP supporters. This is not a mere double standard. This is not ordinary hypocrisy. This is dehumanization. This is apartheid.

When they call us rabid animals, don’t take it as a figure of speech. They *really* do think that we are animals. They mean it.  Most liberals don’t care about the slaughter of BJP/RSS workers for the same reason most people don’t care about the slaughter of chickens and goats. They really do see us as subhuman.

When BJP worker Rudresh was slaughtered in Bangalore one and a half years ago, the seculars who did it had called it “Operation Murghi Cut.” That’s how they see us. And that’s why the rest of Indian intelligentsia kept quiet. Because to them, Rudresh’s life was worth no more than that of a chicken.

Everyone’s invited, including our friends from Axis

Like I said, a BJP defeat in Karnataka would be against the basic rules of politics. So as the exit polls have come out, it’s time for a party !!!! And it’s easy to see that while opinion polls mostly swung towards Congress, the exit polls are unanimous in putting BJP well ahead, well above 100.

Except one.

Axis’ Pradip Gupta, we forgive you.

Don’t worry. Just come for the party. And my advice, take Rajdeep to a strip club or something. Be a friend and cheer that man up. He looked devastated last night as the exit polls rolled in, all of them contradicting Axis.

Sagarika Ma’am please don’t mind.

Let’s quickly run through the data that has come out. I don’t even want to do this. I just want to celebrate. Goodness….this is like the last day of school before summer vacation.

The lowest number for BJP vote share that we saw was 35% from both Axis and VMR. Most polls like Republic-Jan ki Baat, NewsX-CNX, Newsnation, Dighvijay-Vijayvani, VDPA, etc. say BJP would be in the 36-38% zone. Chanakya and CVoter both give BJP above 40%.

At 33.8%, the BJP got 110 seats in 2008. The low vote : high seat math for the BJP is a result of the fact that the party is near absent in the Old Mysore region with 60 seats. No seriously, like really really absent. In numerous seats of Old Mysore, the BJP didn’t even poll 2% of the vote last time. In many seats, it was below 1%.

And poll analysts are unanimous that the BJP strategically conceded some of these super weak seats to the JDS. And so are the pollsters from last night.

So, if we assume that BJP is polling 35% this time, it will be go well above 110. If BJP is in the 36-38% range, it will go above 120. At 40%+, all bets are off.

Okay, I’m glad that’s out of the way. We can celebrate now. Actually, I do have a few worries, not about the outcome of the election, but about how Karnataka politics will shape up after May 15. But we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

For now, let’s enjoy this amazing innings from Modi-Shah that has brought BJP storming into power in Karnataka.

I have a fun little theory about Axis actually. Did Shah pay them just to tantalize Rajdeep? Shah does not seem like that kind of guy …. he’s more of a machine …  but Modi does come off as the kind of person with such a wicked/cruel sense of humor.

In case you are wondering, Shah isn’t relaxing today. He is busy working. He has a meeting with BJP booth workers in Bambolim in Goa. So, he’s not coming to the party for sure. You’re right, I spoke to his personal assistant and it has been confirmed to me that Shah is actually a robot from a distant future where all that people do is work, work, work.

Finally, for the Congress supporters. I repeat, this is for real people who support Congress, not the ecosystem that we see in media and academia. I know their salaries are held up until Rahul comes to power. For the real people who support Congress, I have a story to tell. I bet many cricket fans will remember this.

Many years ago, I remember one of those high pressure India-Pakistan cricket matches. While India got an early wicket, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar absolutely flattened us with his game. By the time Anwar’s wicket fell to a stunning catch by Ganguly in the outfield off Tendulkar’s bowling, he had scored 194 runs. It was the new world record at the time for the highest number of runs in an ODI innings, leaving India fans in tears. I forget Pakistan’s final score, but it was well above 300. At that time, targets above 300 runs were not considered chaseable.

I remember that India commentators were urging people not to cry, instead to feel lucky that we got to witness such a historic innings. To appreciate such a masterclass of batting in the true spirit of the game.

I’d say the same for ordinary Congress supporters. I know you hate Modi much more than we hate Pakistan, but at least give it a try. A masterclass in political communication is unfolding before your eyes. A  powerful dynast and the entire liberal ecosystem from India to the US to Europe being made to rub their noses on the ground. Appreciate it. And you can and you are benefitting from the low inflation and from the fact that India is the world’s fastest growing economy. So, cheer up. All is well.

 

 

 

All the different ways a vile Congress tried to divide people in Karnataka

The Congress has ruled for so long and at so many different levels that there is hardly a dirty trick out there that it hasn’t used. But creating a new religion overnight by government fiat ten days before the election is announced?

That’s a new one, as far as I know.

Politics is a dirty game. We all know that. But has anybody ever gone this low?

This gambit from Sonia Gandhi’s party may actually have been a first in history. Indeed, I would request experts of political science to find out : has any ruling party anywhere on the planet ever done something like this? Sonia Gandhi’s attempt to divide the people puts the British to shame.

Here is a brief look at all the ways in which Congress tried to divide the people during its five year rule in Karnataka.

(1) The new “doctrine of lapse” : forcible takeover of Lingayat Mutts

The Congress didn’t start working on a “Lingayat policy” today. Back in 2014, the Congress government  introduced the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Amendment Bill. It was a draconian bill under which the government could just take over any Hindu religious charity that it suspected of some form of malpractice or corruption at some level.

The Bill was obviously aimed at breaking the power of Lingayat Mutts in Karnataka. Also notice that only Hindu religious institutions were to be placed under this repressive act, reinforcing the status of Hindus as second class citizens in the state.

But the furore around the Bill was such that the government had to back down and withdraw it.

(2) Tipu Jayanti and the insult to Kempe Gowda

After Lingayats, it was the turn of the Vokkaligas to be kicked in the teeth by the Congress government. In order to pander to the Muslim voter, the Karnataka Government created a whole new thing called “Tipu Jayanthi”  and organized big celebrations around it.

Muslims didn’t ask for Tipu Jayanthis to be celebrated. In fact, Islamic practice is generally suspicious of “Jayanthis,” seeing the practice of celebrating birthdays as vaguely un-Islamic. Saudi Arabia for instance does not even celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

But this was not about Islam. This was about the Great Divider of Indian politics trying to pamper Muslim egos and show Hindus their place. Not surprisingly, the government could not even find solid references for the precise birthday of Tipu Sultan. It wasn’t about birthdays: it was about votes.

And so a grand celebration of Tipu Jayanthi was held across Karnataka. At the official celebration in Vidhana Soudha, Mr. Girish Karnad declared that he would rather have named Bengaluru’s Kempe Gowda International Airport after Tipu Sultan.

What’s the calculation here? You see in the Old Mysore Region from where the Congress draws the most seats, its main opponent is JDS, not BJP. The JDS’ vote base consists of Vokkaligas (essentially Gowdas) and Muslims. So what does a typical Congress intellectual say at the official celebration of Tipu Jayanthi in Vidhana Soudha? He tries to make an issue out of comparing Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan with legendary Gowda ruler Kempe Gowda, the builder of Bengaluru.

Who gains if the Muslims break with the Vokkaligas of Old Mysore Region? Now you get it.

(3) Mahadayi waters and Goa as the enemy

In 2007, Sonia Gandhi announced at an election rally in Margao in Goa that she will not allow the waters of the Mahadayi river to be diverted from the state. At that time, Goa had a Congress government and Karnataka had a BJP supported government.

In 2017, it was the BJP that was in power in Goa and the Congress that was in power in Karnataka. What do you think happened?

Of course the Congress found an enemy in the people of Goa. It is Modi, Parrikar and the BJP government in Goa that is responsible for North Karnataka farmers not getting water! How could Sonia ji not have realized this while speaking to Goans in 2007?

Recently, a reporter dared to confront Siddaramaiah with Sonia ji’s 2007 pledge to Goa. The Chief Minister had the most democratic minded response ever to this question : “You don’t understand. Keep quiet.

(4) “North Indian imports” and Hindi as the enemy

No, seriously, this is an elected Chief Minister tweeting from his official handle:

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First of all, PM Modi is from Gujarat, which is not North India. But it is not like Siddaramaiah doesn’t know his geography. This tweet is a calculated attempt to spread casual xenophobia : a two nation theory; one nation north of the Vindhyas and one south of the Vindhyas.

And so it was that Siddaramaiah discovered the sudden need for a new Karnataka state flag. After almost sixty years of India being ruled by a Hindi speaking Dynasty from the extreme north (Kashmir), it is during the term of a Gujarati Prime Minister that Congress Party finally discovers how much historical injustice has been done to the South of India. To help Siddaramaiah’s divisive campaign along, the intellectual ecosystem activates and starts feeding the public articles about how the South loses money for every rupee of tax it sends to the Center and how the Northern states get subsidized.

Someone tell Siddaramaiah that his party’s President is from Uttar Pradesh and represents Amethi in Parliament. That family pocketborough is one of the most backward places in the country. Now if taxes from Karnataka are being “diverted” to make up for the development deficit in a place like Amethi, whose fault is that?

Someone tell Siddaramaiah that India has had only one full term PM from the South : P V Narasimha Rao. He was from the Congress. But he did not belong to the Dynasty. So when he passed away, the Congress government in 2004 would not even provide flowers for his dead body. His mortal remains were packed off from Delhi and sent to Hyderabad. He had lived in Delhi for 30 years. But there was no place for him there. If there was ever a moment when the South was humiliated, this was it.

(5) The Lingayats as a separate religion

Remember how I pointed out earlier in the article that in 2014 the Congress tried to crush the Lingayat Mutts. That didn’t work. So Sonia Gandhi’s party unfolded Plan B. This time the plan is to give Lingayats the status of a new religion, a minority, thus breaking them away from the Hindu body. The same Lingayat run institutions that Siddaramaiah tried to crush in 2014 are to be redesignated as “minority institutions,”  freeing them from the paws of RTE and a host of other regulatory regimes that apply only to Hindus.

This led to the spectacle of a government in a secular country creating a new religion by fiat ten days before the election was announced. A new low for democracy anywhere.

Campaigning for the Karnataka elections ended yesterday. Thankfully. Who knows what else the Congress would have had up its sleeve? Offering another partition of India? They did it once and reaped a rich harvest for sixty years. Who knows what they are capable of?

 

Pretty sure BJP is winning Karnataka

I have heard a lot of views, online, on social media and mainstream media about who is winning Karnataka. I have to put my cards clearly on the table.

BJP win. 100%

Here is my clear view. Basically I am going to repeat what I have been saying all along. A BJP defeat in Karnataka would go against the basic rules of politics. Should the Congress Party seriously win on May 15, it would be outright historic. I simply don’t see this happening. 

What do I mean by “basic rules” of politics? A simple example would be that of Siddaramaiah’s last minute Lingayat religion gimmick. A month ago, I remember intense speculation in media about how it could prove to be a masterstroke. As the campaign progressed, discussion about the Lingayat issue subsided … then gradually vanished.

Now there is total consensus that Lingayat religion issue is definitely not helping Congress and may ultimately go against it.

In other words, noisemakers came to the conclusion that decisions made by the government 10 days before an election NEVER fool the public. This would be a good example of a “basic rule” of politics. My belief is that this window is much bigger : I believe that nothing that the government does in the final year really matters. The electorate gives you four years … that’s it. If you are losing at the end of four years, it’s over. Only the margin of defeat remains to be seen. If your opponent is weak, there will be a hung result. If you face a Modi like fierce opponent, you collapse in a heap like 282-44.

Now, let us take a look at the BJP’s voteshares in successive Assembly elections in the state:

1989 : 4%

1994 : 17%

1999: 21%

2004: 28.3%

2008: 33.9%

2013: 32.4% (united BJP : all 3 factions)

This is incredible. Going up every election for 30 years, with a small incumbency penalty in 2013.

In fact, you could say I have become obsessed with this number of 32.4%. I cannot get beyond the fact that despite changing 3 CMs in five years, the people of Karnataka charged the BJP a mere 1.5% vote penalty in 2013. If a fragmented, leaderless and incumbent BJP could get this in 2013, imagine what a clear headed BJP under Modi-Shah, with BSY as clear CM candidate will do with the anti-incumbency wind on their backs. In a state that has not repeated a government since 1985.

Imagine how much has happened in politics since 1989. And the BJP’s voteshare has never failed to go up in Karnataka. This time, at a pessimistic absolute minimum, they are going to get 34%. With the entire BJP vote concentrated in the North, Central and Coastal regions, i.e., outside the Old Mysore belt, I can’t see BJP going below 110. If you want, subtract 10 seats more from my absolute pessimistic estimate and you get 100 seats, which is probably enough to form a government. Like I said, I can’t see BJP losing this.

Now for the pollsters. While some polls like TV5Kannada, 5Forty3, Times Now VMR and Republic TV – JankiBaat, Dighvijay TV have shown BJP ahead, there are many like India Today – Karvy, NewsX – CNS, India TV that have put the Congress about 10 seats ahead of the BJP.

(By the way, I am not including in this list one fraud elite “academic” pollster who projected a Cong sweep with 47% vote in Jan, then a BJP win in March and and a Cong win in April… I no longer consider them pollsters)

The most powerful channel in Karnataka is Public TV, which says BJP 89, Cong 91.

Okay, so let’s address the issue of those surveys which say Congress has about a 10 seat advantage over BJP. I don’t agree and let me show you an example. Here is the full list of exit polls for the BBMP election in 2015 which I got from here.

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Mind you these were not even opinion polls. These were exit polls. We all know that polls can go wrong, but when was the last time a party that was shown losing *every single* exit poll actually won the election?

Well, BJP won and won handsomely in the BBMP in 2015. The BJP got 100 seats and the Congress just 75.

Now look at the list of exit polls again. Congress is winning in every single one of them. But it wasn’t winning on the ground. How could they have polled Bengaluru city so wrong? Every one of them!

This is my belief … pollsters, experts and the general political pundit community have underestimated just how far right wing the state of Karnataka has gone.

In electoral terms, it means that the right wing is in a sweet spot in Karnataka right now and has been for a long time actually. It means that people of Karnataka will judge Congress much more harshly. The BJP can get away with a lot and it has.

In 2013, the fragmented BJP won just 40 seats. Six months later, they put their pieces back together and easily won 17 out of Karnataka’s 28 seats in the General Election. How often does a flip like that happen in a space of 12 months?

It means that the BJP has a much deeper reservoir of goodwill to tap into in Karnataka. All they have to do is get the bare minimum right and they will win. The Congress has to work much harder for victory.

In the last 3 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has been No. 1 party in Karnataka. Mind you that BJP actually lost 2 of these 3 Lok Sabha polls! It tells you how well the party has connected with the Karnataka voter. Lok Sabha elections are a great way to tell how a voter *really* thinks. Because local factors play the smallest role in LS polls. That is when a person is most likely to vote purely based on party inclinations. And the last 3 Lok Sabha elections make it absolutely clear : the Karnataka voter prefers BJP as a party.

We are winning on May 15, folks. Get ready.