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.
Factional splits are the norm rather than exceptions in Indian politics. This is not because there are deep ideological differences among the parties. The trouble is that they are all alike.
While the Supreme Court came through with flying colours with its verdict on Section 377, it did something in the week before which has hardly been remarked upon.
Being against Modi is not a Manifesto. If India has a low score on human development, if Muslims are a severely economically and socially deprived community, if violence against women and Dalits still persists, it is no good blaming a four-year-old BJP government.
When the Prime Minister spoke last year from the Red Fort, he seemed invincible. It was as if 2019 was in the bag. But the first rule of politics is: Never take an election for granted.
No one expected him to be so engaged in improving relations with Pakistan when he was foreign minister. As a Jana Sanghi, he was meant to breathe fire and brimstone in any dealings with Pakistan.
We only care about lynchings to blame the BJP. Child abuse in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh and wherever next matters only to disrupt parliamentary proceedings. It is a strange sense of priority.
Imran may get lucky. Most prime ministers have been from either Punjab or Sindh. He is the first from the frontier region.
I think the Honourable Supreme Court has got it wrong about lynching. It is not the lack of laws but a lack of will to enforce the law which is the issue.
Prime ministers get blamed for everything that goes wrong even when the problem may be with the states and their failure to maintain law and order, as in the cases of lynching or rape or harassment.
Political divisions on this issue run through both the ruling party and the Opposition. The process of leaving has a time limit, which ends on March 29, 2019. The UK has to negotiate with the European Commission.
In Malaga, there was a conference where they discussed topics such as the Index of Opposition Unity (IOU). Don’t believe There is No Alternative (TINA) because lo and behold, Rahul Is The Alternative (RITA).
The Opposition has the one-item agenda of hating Modi. As in 1971, when the cry of the Old Congress was ‘Indira Hatao’, now it is ‘Modi Hatao’. Then Indira Gandhi said ‘Garibi Hatao’ ,and Modi’s refrain of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ is on similar lines.
A referendum in the Indian part of J&K should ask the people a simple question: Do you wish to stay in India or not?
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.