The byelections in Karnataka have been seen as a sign of a changed political landscape by several newspapers. Munsif, on November 8, speaks of Ittehad mein taaqat — strength in unity. It says that the Congress-JD(S) alliance, which BJP spokespersons never tired of abusing, succeeded in trumping the BJP eventually. The paper believes that the reduced margin of the BJP victory in the Parliamentary elections in Shimoga too, “where the BJP campaigned on the Modi government’s work and transparency” is a signal of how support for the Central government is dwindling.
Roznama Khabrein on November 7 puts it more dramatically: “The Congress-JD(S) defeating the ‘biggest party in the world’, the BJP,” is big news. It focusses on Ballari, “which the Congress last won with Sonia Gandhi in 1999 and since then has been the BJP’s fiefdom.” It views this victory as significant as it sees the BJP having tried to rekindle “the 1992 wave but people in Karnataka remained unaffected and rejected BJP’s attempts at fanning religious fervour”.
The political Zeitgeist gets much play in editorials. Etemaad , the MIM mouthpiece on November 7 sees an environment where there is “politics of Statues.”
Siasat on November 4, in its editorial, exhorts parties to “unite” citing it as the need of the hour. India’s secular and progressive parties need to come together to save India from ruin. The paper expresses concern against the “destruction” of institutions and says the emotion of unity must prevail. It says the ruling BJP had used democracy to get to power. Now, it is using that same office to try and slay institutions like the CBI, RBI and judiciary. “It only wants institutions to twirl on its little finger.”
Roznama Sahara has a lead article by M Jilani November 9, where he writes: “The minute the elections come by, the ripples of mandir come up”. He adds that the BJP is hoping that in the hawa hawaai of the mandir turbulence, it will carry the five state elections and the 2019 general elections, and “hence its spokespersons untroubled at the prospect of contempt of Court, go on about how the Court will decide in favour of the Ram temple and it will be constructed”.
Inquilab, in its editorial of November 7, asks “why is the failure of vikas not conceded?” It says the RSS/BJP’s narrative of 1996-98 was different and care was taken to craft a distinct narrative in 2014, which secured them a complete majority for the first time. “Now, slowly, that is chipping away, and now it is for the wise and senior commentators and Opposition leaders to ask — where is vikas, where has it got lost? Why is there no admission of its failure?” The editorial in Sahafat on November 12 speaks of how “all anti-BJP parties are coming together”.
Two years after the banning of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, Urdu papers see the move as a failure.
Akhbaar-e-Mashriq on November 10, marks the two-year anniversary of demonetisation with a taunt: “Saalgira or Barsi?” Meaning is it a birthday or a death anniversary? The editorial writes: “This proved to be a catastrophe for the nation. It left its worst influence over Employment.”
Munsif on November 9 has an editorial on the two years of Notebandi. The paper writes that over 60 per cent in a recent survey thought that black money was getting a free run in the country. “The Modi government kept changing the goal post despite the PM mentioning the phrase black money ‘18 times in his November 7 address’.” The editorial asserts that “the biggest evidence of the abject failure of the demonetisation is that the government wants to raid the coffers of the Reserve Bank of India. for Rs 3.6 lakh crore… which the RBI has refused.”
Jamaat-e-Islami’s biweekly Daawat in its issue dated November 11-13 says “it is natural that people remember notebandi as it hit them so hard. If the government is celebrating a year of GST’s so-called successes, the Opposition is well within its rights to mark the barsi of Notebandi.”
Inquilab , in a tongue-in-cheek editorial on name-changes initiated by BJP state governments, especially in Uttar Pradesh titled,’Vikas se Gira!’ on November 15 writes: “As there is an epidemic of name-change in the country, why not change the name of Vikas too, which emerged as a dream when used as a slogan but just could not be fulfilled. Why not Achhe din to Bure din?”. The paper quotes eminent historian Irfan Habib as saying that the BJP president, Amit Shah, at the heart of name-change pushes must be urged to change away from his own name, “Shah”. It also speculates that if an RTI were to go into the amounts spend on name-changes, the results would be mind-boggling.