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.
Narendra Modi devised an inclusive strategy in 2014. He reached out to the Dalit voters. He downplayed anti-Muslim sentiments. He modernised the BJP by remaking its image as a tech-savvy party with social media and holograms. This captured the youth vote.
Pranab Mukherjee rewrote history on Friday. He washed away all the sins of the RSS. From now on, no stigma attaches to the RSS even for the assassination of Gandhiji for which the RSS was acquitted (though the Congress would like you not to know).
The elections last week make one thing clear. It is time the Election Commission rethought the way in which voters are treated.
The secular nature of the Indian polity is written into the Constitution. But the idea that India is socialist is a mockery of the idea of socialism.
The latest election has confirmed the decline of the Congress. Once again, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi confronted each other. There is no doubt that Rahul is trying harder and getting better. But ultimately it is Modi who has made the BJP the party of the future.
There is no serious ideological difference left between the two parties, with the Congress repositioning itself as a liberal Hindutva party.
A crusading newspaper and an active vigilant Parliament can bring about radical change. Indian parliamentarians should try it some time. It is better than rushing to the Well of the Lok Sabha.
For 17 years while Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister, communal violence was contained. Since 1964, there have been nearly 15,000 Hindu-Muslim riots.
The Empire having been reduced to a skeleton, the question has to be asked what is the best structure for the Commonwealth.
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.
Writer-scholar Rana Safvi says it is imperative for Delhi to hold on to its cosmopolitan culture. Her latest book "The Forgotten Cities of Delhi" emerges at a time when there is a brazen attempt to re-write Indian history with demonisation of the Mughals.