• The dummy’s guide to Congress's downfall

    Apart from allegations of corruption, perceived policy paralysis, inability to deal with price rise, and ten years of anti-incumbency, the continuing infatuation with the Gandhis could well be the start of a long winter for the Congress.

    This election season has been dirty: from name-calling to hate speeches, we have heard it all. But the one statement that takes the cake is a gem by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra where she says that the 'Congress will fight back against all those who have maligned the Gandhi family'.
     
    In a way these words sum up the dipping fortunes of the grand old party of India's politics and why it is in the doldrums.
     
    It's common knowledge that the Gandhis perceive the Congress to be their personal fiefdom and ruling the party comes as a right, as an inheritance. But such blatant use of this understanding is rarely seen.
     
    Priyanka's statement that the Congress will fight back against those who try to humiliate the Gandhi family stinks of pomposity and points to the already known fact that it is ‘family first’ in this party. But that begs the question why the Congress should do a 'Kill Bill' to avenge the slurs?
     
    Almost all Congress leaders have been viciously attacked by political rivals, but the family has

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  • Who will run this country anyway?

    Modi offers us an alternative, but our collective survival will depend on our silence.


    We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin - Andre Berthiaume


    When did you last hear of Ramdas Kadam, Giriraj Singh or Pravin Togadia? In the words of Faizal Khan (The character in Gangs of Wasseypur, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui] Yeh teri awaz ko kya ho gaya hai be...)

    The above trio - drawn from the Shiv Sena, VHP, RSS and other hard right groups - seem increasingly sure that Modi will be the next power at the center. And for them, this translates into an opportunity to push their organizations various agendas. Such as:

    Rape is not rape if you are improperly clad and therefore, "asked for it". And they decide what the proper dress is that you should wear. Also, no going out after late evening, definitely no going to pubs, no going to night clubs, no having fun of any sort, no wearing jeans to college, no no no...These moral police assume the right to tell all of us how to lead our lives - without of course assuming any

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  • By all means, Fluence was the perfect car to mark Renault’s entry into Indian market. Even though it didn’t sell in huge numbers, Fluence left an impression with its massive road presence and impeccable driving dynamics. As Fluence gets a second chance, the French marque’s roots have grown deep enough to make the car a comeback kid. Lets find out what’s new in the new Fluence.

    Design

    Always a graceful car, the Fluence now gets a new front-end treatment with the Renault family face integrated into it. New glossy black grille now houses a large Renault badge and headlamps get projectors and shiny black mask with chrome eyelashes. All-new front bumper is complete with daytime running lights, fog lamps and new air intakes. Body-coloured side cladding and new alloy wheels are a welcome change in profile.

    There are minor yet noticeable changes on the interior, too. A silver insert across the dual-tone dashboard looks elegant and upmarket. There are silver touches on the steering wheel, around

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  • Why Modi haters should stop ranting

    The constant under-the-microscope scrutiny of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate has given more publicity to his election campaign.

    Narendra Modi is impotent; will chop Modi into pieces; Modi is a puppy; Modi should be treated in a mental hospital; ‘tea-seller’ Modi can’t become India’s PM; Modi is fascist; Modi is a RSS goon; Modi’s Gujarat a ‘toffee model’; Modi is a dictator. If you follow Indian politics keenly, you will easily guess that all the above remarks were made by Modi’s political opponents in recent times as the election frenzy is gripping the nation.

    These remarks highlight not only the political rivalry, but the obsession towards one man, who, according to many opinion polls may become India’s next prime minister. This breast-beating over Modi is not limited to just politicians as everyone seems to be dissecting the ‘brand Modi’. Many Bollywood celebrities reportedly have signed a petition wherein they appeal to the people of the country to vote for a ‘secular government’. According to the film industry sources, the signatories to this petition mainly consist of Modi haters.

    Everyone in the country

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  • Stone-pelting, Twitter abuse: Why Indian cricket fans react violently?

    The latest to earn the wrath of the fans is Yuvraj Singh. He was not only vilified on Twitter but also his house was pelted with stones by the so-called ‘fans’ of the Indian team.

    Fans burn Indian players posters following the team's loss against Sri Lanka in 2007 World cup. (AFP)

    Do cricketers and their fans have an unsigned agreement between each other over performances on a field? Has the cricketer, by not performing up to fans expectations, caused any physical or psychological or traumatic harm to them? If the answer is no, then it is incomprehensible to see the superstars being targeted by fans when the Indian team loses. Stone-pelting, vandalising cricketer’s home, burning effigies and mocking a bad performance on social networking sites are the ways fans express their frustration and anger.

    The latest to earn the wrath of the fans is Yuvraj Singh. He was not only vilified on Twitter but also his house was pelted with stones by the so-called ‘fans’ of the Indian team.

    Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Chaitanya Sridhar explains the three basic reasons why the Indian fans love the game of cricket which will help in understanding their behaviour.

    1. Entertainment - Cricket is perceived to be a form of leisure. It provides a 'high' and is associated with positive

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  • When Koleos was first launched in India in 2011, Renault was quite an unfamiliar brand to most Indian buyers. Later, the French company’s five-product plan for India secured it a place among the heavyweights, while the prodigious success of the Duster made Renault a household name. Now, as the carmaker’s Indian flagship gets a major makeover, a cheaper price tag and addition of three new variants give Koleos a more serious purpose.

    Design

    The 2014 Koleos carries over the design language of the model it replaces. It looks more of a smooth crossover than a rugged SUV. The face now gets a wider grille that stretches from headlamp to headlamp. It also houses a bolder and larger Renault badge. While new alloy wheels and chrome side-protectors are new in profile, rear is left untouched.

    Interiors aren’t a drastic upgrade over the outgoing model either. Although the dashboard design does justice to SUV standards, I am skeptical about its overall quality, especially in a car with a price north

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  • Slap Kejriwal, because you can

    Try that with Modi, Lalu or Mayawati, if you can.


    There is no lasting hope in violence, only temporary relief from hopelessness - Kingman Brewster, Jr
     
    India had a double facepalm moment when on Thursday Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav nonchalantly opposed capital punishment for rape, saying "ladke, ladke hain...galti ho jati hai [boys will be boys...they commit mistakes]."
     
    "Boys and girls befriend each other. When they fall out, a rape complaint is lodged. We will change this law and will make a provision for penalizing people who misuse the law by filing frivolous complaints," said Mulayam. "If boys and girls have difference, and the girl goes and gives a statement that I have been raped, then the poor fellows are punished."
     
    The statement predictably triggered an outpouring of outrage - on social media, where the Aam Aadmi Party operates, but that space hardly matters to 'mass leaders' like Mr Yadav or Abu Azmi, who went a step further saying "rape is punishable by hanging in Islam.

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  • A day in the life of an AAP worker

    The Aam Aadmi Party, despite being a newbie, is known for its aggressive style of campaigning. The writer spends a day with one of the foot soldiers of the AAP in Bangalore to understand the method behind the madness.

    Standing near a temple, Sitaram is about to move to the next lane to distribute more of the Aam Aadmi Party pamphlets as he is approached by a young boy requesting him for one of his party topis. The boy returns to playing cricket, disappointed, as Sitaram has exhausted all the caps. The party activist is more dejected than the kid, who by now has forgotten about the cap and is happy walloping a cricket ball over the park.

    Sitaram begins his day by holding an AAP placard at major traffic signals, generally from 8 to 11 am, in different wards of Basavangudi in the south Bangalore constituency, his place of assignment. The placard carries a photo of Nina Nayak, AAP's candidate from the south Bangalore constituency, a plea to vote for her and the AAP symbol - jhaadu (a broom).

    Holding placards, distributing pamphlets are some of the campaigning activities that the AAP foot soldiers are involved in. But is distributing AAP caps also a way of promotion?

    "Yes, it is. We have given away

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  • 30 smart ideas from BJP’s manifesto 2014

    Sunny Narang, a New Delhi based entrepreneur-mentor who is invested in sporting talent, craft and design culls out what he calls some ‘smart ideas’ from the BJP manifesto. His core assessment is that they have left no sector or interest group untouched.

     

    30 smart ideas from BJP’s manifesto 2014

     

    Why a manifesto makes sense

    Everyone is promising a utopian future on paper, in a text document which can be copy-pasted from anywhere in the world. Many now believe it is anachronistic to talk of manifestos in the digital age. But it still makes sense to get an idea of what is the general and detailed drift of a political party.

    What is its top-line thinking on policy concerning various issues and on sections of the republic? It is also essential now to hold each party to the spirit and letter of its promises nationally, regionally and locally.

    My basis for choosing these 30 ideas as smart

    The manufacturing output declined 0.2 per cent in 2013/2014 compared with 1.1 per cent growth the previous year, dragging down the overall economy. There is a huge youth population that needs employment. There are falling water tables, polluted rivers, land issues, stagnant agriculture, vanishing craftspeople, and loss of cultural diversity.

    Reading through the BJP manifesto actually surprised me

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  • Why Narendra Modi should not be PM

    Do we want a prime minister against whom there are multiple allegations of violation of human rights, of actively sanctioning a religious massacre? Do we want someone as PM whose antipathy towards a certain community has been documented widely.

    They say 'change' is the only constant. And 'change' is precisely what happened to Narendra Modi.
     
    Ten years back, it would have been unimaginable to even suggest Narendra Modi's name as a prime ministerial candidate. Now, thanks to an image makeover that he owes to a seemingly vibrant Gujarat and a corrupt central government, Modi is the foremost candidate to lead the country.
     
    No other politician in independent India has been demonised as much as Modi, but one has to concede that his resilience – stubbornness, if you will - is what has helped him tide over the massive criticism that he invoked after the Godhra carnage. The genocide remains a blemish that threatens to cast a pall of gloom over his campaign.
     
    In a way, it has not been so much a change as it has been a reversal of polarity. Modi was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat riots. Ten years hence, he remains in the limelight - a hugely popular, engaging, irritating figure on

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