Meghnad Desai loves to cook, watch and write about old Bollywood movies and shuttles between London, Delhi and Goa. He pursues controversies on economics, history and anything else which catches his attention. He is also a British parliamentarian sitting in the House of Lords. He has written over 25 books, over 200 articles in learned journals and hundreds of newspaper columns in UK and India.
In Jammu, the rape of a girl has become an issue of rivalry between communities, with lawyers obstructing the investigation. It is as if the horrendous shock of the Nirbhaya episode and the powerful reaction of men and women from around the world were in vain.
That idea is a hallmark of the liberalism which is the foundation of the Constitution. Liberalism presumes a basic equality of rank among all citizens. Yet, the society has no such equality.
BJP has a formidable combination in Narendra Modi as a political leader and Amit Shah as an election fighting genius. The Congress has Rahul Gandhi but no one with election fighting record.
The Congress has refashioned itself (as advised by Cambridge Analytica?) as a liberal Hindu party led by a pucca Brahmin. It is not clear if it has yet developed a new economic philosophy committed to deep structural reforms that will be growth-friendly.
The defeat in Gorakhpur is the least surprising. Who can forget the tragedy of all those children dying in the Gorakhpur hospital just a few months ago? Yogi Adityanath visited the hospital at the moment of high tragedy and failed to notice anything amiss
Rahul Gandhi finds it difficult to focus on any political chore for a week at a time. Amit Shah, on the other hand, is relentlessly active, fighting election after election. In elections, you need cadres that can work around the clock and leadership which gives them important guidance.
Making 300 films in a working life of 50 years must have meant constant work for Sridevi. Few of us work that long with a degree of intensity which is required in commercial movie-making.
The fraud allegedly committed by Nirav Modi on the Punjab National Bank brings me back to what I have been arguing for the last several years. The legacy of Indira Gandhi is toxic and the Indian economy must be cleansed of it.
But there is a bigger question here. Why is it difficult in India, even after 70 years of democracy, to build non-dynastic grassroots parties which can start modestly at a regional level before wasting their limited strength on larger national ambition?
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh may be lost, but that is a problem for Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Modi has to secure the trust of all citizens to win big.
Given our federal structure, the idea of holding elections simultaneously in the 29 states plus the Centre is impossible as of now. Some Constitutional amendments will be required.
There is one name which is always particularly intriguing and indeed could have changed the course of political history had he got his chance — Jyoti Basu.
Within four years of coming to power, Narendra Modi has transformed the political ideological map of India.
The appointments to the Supreme Court were originally entrusted to the elected government. It was Indira Gandhi’s spectacular misuse of that power to subvert and intimidate judges which caused a questioning of that arrangement
The battle lines for 2019 will be drawn around Congress representing an inclusive Hindu identity. The Opposition will paint the BJP as anti-Dalit, recalling the suicide of Rohith Vemula and other incidents.
Twelve months on, there has been no nuclear war between the US and North Korea.
The Congress realised its limited popularity and sought the help of young leaders of caste-based agitations and took 16 seats off the BJP. Not enough to win but sure to give Modi a warning that 2019 will be a tough fight
If the Congress makes a dent in the BJP’s majority tomorrow, the Hindutva lite approach will become the new Congress ideology. It does not have to be much.
The Congress has had very few contested elections in its entire history. Once Gandhiji became its leader, he nominated the candidate for party president and the All India Congress Committee duly voted for the sole candidate.
Rahul Gandhi visits every temple he can and offers puja in an ostentatious way which Congress leaders never did before. But now the battle for Hindu votes in Gujarat is fully engaged.
Papa CJ started stand-up comedy in 2004 after his visit to the annual Fringe festival in Edinburgh. Since then, amongst various places, he has performed at the Sydney Opera House and also at gun-point in South Africa, he quips.