Box Populi
  • What could still go wrong for the BJP

    The Congress might surprise itself by putting up a far better show than it is expected to. Even a couple of dozen extra seats in its kitty could queer the pitch for the BJP.


    While the Bharatiya Janata Party is fully justified in being euphoric, it would do well to just hold off the celebrations for a while and reflect on George Santayana’s words: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.’

    Although the exit polls overwhelmingly favour a BJP-led government at the Centre and predict a complete rout of the Congress, a bit of caution – and some humility – might be in order.

    The Times Now-ORG exit poll survey gives the BJP and its allies 249 seats on the lower end of the spectrum (going up to 265 seats on the upper end), just short of simple majority of 272 seats. It gives the UPA 148 seats and ‘Others’ 146.

    The CNN IBN-CSDS poll gives the NDA a comfortable 270-282 seats, while it says the UPA would get 91-102 and Others 159-181. India TV-C Voter poll too pegs BJP (and allies) way ahead at 289, followed by Others at 153, and the UPA at 101.

    The India Today-Cicero puts BJP+ at 261-283; UPA+ at 110-120, and Others at 150-162. ABP Nielsen exit poll

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  • Kejriwal has my sympathy, not my vote. Yet

    He seemed destined for greatness. But the price of greatness is responsibility. And it was here that Kejriwal stumbled.


    For a judicious homemaker who’s not aligned to any political ideology, my wife is quite well informed and aware of her democratic rights and duties.
     
    Acutely alert to issues that affect the common Indian, Anju has no-nonsense, down-to-earth solutions to many a complex problem that politicians brazenly avoid tackling.
     
    Her often-politically-incorrect opinion on matters of import is nothing short of astonishingly sagacious.
     
    She, like a million others, reserves unabashed contempt for most politicians. Thus, it was like a punch to the solar plexus, when one fine winter evening she suddenly declared she might join the new political kid on the block, the Aam Aadmi Party, and work to ‘cleanse the system’.
     
    When she sets her mind at doing something, it is imprudent to get in the way; thus, I decided to button my lip and nod wisely.
     
    Knowing she wouldn’t trust a politician, no matter how honest his cronies might profess him to be, until she is entirely persuaded by his argument and intentions, I

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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