Why The Modi Sarkaar Must Grow Balls

As the Budget Session began in the Parliament, the government finds itself beset with numerous troubles. If initial signs are to be believed, the government may find the going tough. After going on an ordinance spree after the failed Winter Session, the government is in a tight spot as if the ordinances are not ratified, they will soon lapse. While the government may reissue them once they lapse, it will draw flak from all corners of the political spectrum for doing so, and rightly so. Although the Congress is quite weak and has left no stone unturned to appear dumb after Rahul Gandhi’s unannounced sabbatical, it is working towards uniting other opposition parties to oppose all the ordinances of the government.

The most important of all the government’s ordinances is the one on bringing amendments to the draconian Land Acquisition Act passed by the previous UPA regime. This bill has been one of the chief reasons for India’s dismal Ease of Doing Business Ranking. The act has made it almost impossible to purchase land for industries stalling infrastructure projects worth millions. Credit must go to the present-day government for showing the political will to eliminate the clause which mandates that 70% of the farmers must give their assent for land acquisition to take place. By going the extra mile to show that it means business, the government has drawn criticism from all kinds of people and organizations.

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Not only are the opposition parties united on this front, the RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) is opposing the government as well. Who would’ve guessed that the government would find its own people objecting its decisions? To make matters worse, Anna Hazare is planning to lead an agitation against the Modi government’s anti-farmer stand and Kejriwal is trying his best to score brownie points with his long-lost mentor by supporting this agitation. Kejriwal may not realize the position he is putting himself in by alienating the Central Government. So Delhi must gear up for dharna democracy again! Unsurprising is the stand taken by Shiv Sena who has desperately been trying to embarrass the government ever since its disgraceful snub by the BJP during the Maharashtra elections.

The government is finally on the right track as far as growth and development is concerned. It must not give in to these pressures now and instead try to deftly pass the legislation which will be a boon for India’s manufacturing sector. The government isn’t being anti-farmer by promoting this legislation as it is still limited only to projects approved under public-private partnership and the fair compensation clause has been upheld. If the rest of the nation wants to maintain status quo on this draconian act then we can safely conclude that we cannot change. If the government backs down at this stage, all the hopes it has generated since its election will be lost and it will lose support of the manufacturing sector. It is highly imperative for the government to somehow pass this legislation or else it is setting the wrong precedent. Any ground-breaking initiative it may lead tomorrow may fall through because the nation will have seen that the government gives in to arm-twisting.

Everything aside, the government is not helping itself by letting the RSS chief make highly controversial statements right before the start of the Budget Session. Mohan Bhagwat, who is no stranger to controversy, recently accused Mother Teresa of helping the poor solely for converting them to Christianity. He needs to stop getting his panties in a bunch over every idea of conversion. The RSS needs to realize that by doing this, it is causing headaches to the government. If the RSS is too stupid to realize this, the government must rein in these Hindu hardliners before they cause irreparable damage to its reputation. The government needs to distance itself from the RSS and make sure that every comment by Bhagwat is not seen as the official stance of the BJP. While it may be true that RSS is the BJP’s ideological mentor, BJP has come to power on the growth and development plank and not on its hardline Hindutva agenda. The government is in a fix now as it cannot alienate the RSS, whose grassroots network is unmatchable.

Modi must now show why the nation has placed his faith in him and must use all his political skill to drive the government out of this mess. Finally we have a government that is not hanging on to the deep-dish socialist ideology but the opposition is forcing it to adopt this attitude. Socialism has not ended wide-scale poverty anywhere, economic growth and development has. Unless manufacturing picks up and employment generation can match the population growth, we are going to be trapped by our subsidy-regime. The people want to be self-reliant and the government must know this.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

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BJP Bites The Dust: How, Why and What Next?

bjp bites dust

While Delhi maybe a small state, the unprecedented victory of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has national ramifications. The BJP which was up until now the single largest party in Delhi has been decimated. Modi’s invincibility has taken a hit and for the first time since the general election last year, the BJP has been ousted so brutally. Visible now are the chinks in the armour of the BJP. So how did the BJP get beaten by a party which was reeling from a fund crunch and defectors?

The AAP got off to a very surprising start last year after its government formation in Delhi. It then did the mistake of being overambitious and tried fighting the general election without a proper strategy or groundwork. Upon realizing this, they got back to the basics and retraced their steps, focusing mainly on their mistakes. It engaged in a hard-fought campaign with the BJP which tried pulling various tricks to no avail. Let’s look at why the BJP lost so badly.

THE TACTICAL ERRORS

  1. Delay: – The first mistake of the BJP was to wait for almost a year to call for re-elections. BJP should have capitalized on the Modi wave after the general elections but chose not do so. This gave the AAP a chance to regroup. If elections would have been called right then, the AAP couldn’t have done this well as it was reeling from a nation-wide loss and faced a severe fund crunch back then.
  2. Kiran Bedi: – The second error, which looked more like a masterstroke, was the portrayal of Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate. When Amit Shah realized that BJP could not rely on only the diminishing Modi-wave, he inducted Kiran Bedi into the party whose clean image and administrative background looked ideal to tackle Kejriwal. However, what the BJP failed to take into account was the infighting it would generate within the party. One must realize that the state-level leaders have been with the party for years and to bypass them by bringing in a new face would severely crush their morale.
  3. Reliance on Modi: – BJP must know that Modi isn’t omnipotent. The Modi-wave had to come to an end someday and at the end of the day local issues are what matters most in state elections. Local issues are best addressed by the state level leadership and the big guns cannot work everytime. The BJP could’ve easily rode this wave had the elections been held late last year. Modi’s credibility has been seriously undermined due to this embarrassing loss.

THE IMPLICATIONS

AAP: – This result has basically given a new life to a party that was clinging on to its last remaining vestige of existence. The thumping victory puts the issue of corruption back into focus and AAP has proved that no one can take it lightly. What remains to be seen though is the model of governance that AAP presents as apart from an anti-corruption plank and a left-leaning agenda it hasn’t presented much to the aspirational middle class. It will be quite interesting to see the functioning of a new party which has an innovative mindset. As long as the AAP works for the people it has a place in Indian politics but it must move away from a Kejriwal-centric model like the BJP must move away from a Modi-centric one. AAP’s victory can be called a victory of good governance, which Modi had promised but is taking his own merry time to deliver. What puts AAP’s future into jeopardy is that it is ideologically very strong compared to the Congress and the BJP which restricts its options for alliances. Coalitions will be imperative in the future and if the AAP’s anti-corruption stance will make it difficult for its supporters to accept an alliance partner with even the slightest stain of corruption.

BJP: – The results have a much greater impact on the BJP which has been given a harsh reality check. The BJP must now fight each election with greater tact and develop a good local level leadership. Over-dependence on Modi has done it no good. The BJP should focus on state-level issues when it comes to state elections. The resurgence of AAP also gives other parties the feeling that they have a fighting chance in elections (I’m not looking at you Congress). BJP top brass has a tough challenge ahead and must focus on ground realities. The central government must focus on governance and rein in the Hindu-hardline elements (which apparently Obama has to point out to us).

All in all, AAP’s victory has given opened up Indian politics to new avenues and vistas. No longer can we write off Kejriwal. AAP has been given five years to show what it’s made up of. It must make use of this time to showcase its ideology and build up a loyal support base. If AAP succeeds in changing the face of Delhi then it can move on to other states and hopefully generate gainful employment for people in India politics!

AIB Knockout : Who Are They Likely To Offend?

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Most of us have already watched the All India Bakchod Roast that had been trending on Youtube for the past few days. Even though AIB took down the video, don’t worry it’s already been pirated and you can still find it. What AIB experimented with was a new concept of comedy for India, the roast comedy which generates humor by downright insults. However, none of the participants are offended by it since it’s all in good humor. So was the roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh (highly insulting for Karan Johar too). Although it ended up making fun of the complete panel as well as quite a few attendees, at the end of the day none of participants or audiences seemed offended. None of the spectators should have been offended as they went willingly and shelled out 4000 bucks (as AIB so subtly pointed it out to us).

So what’s with all the controversies? If Karan Johar’s mother isn’t offended by jokes on his sexual orientation, who are we to be offended? If Rajeev Masand doesn’t care about people calling him a paid critic, who are we to feel insulted? It doesn’t matter what kind of vile or obscene language (or gesture) was used to convey this, there were suitable warnings already attached. Karan Johar, therefore, rightly tweeted, “Not your cup of tea…don’t drink it!!!” If you find it highly vulgar, don’t watch it. Why are you curbing free speech when the only people it’s supposed to offend are the ones taking part in it? The fact is that the intention of the AIB roast was to make people laugh and that’s what it did. The group had no ulterior motives.

All the insults were targeted at people who didn’t care about them then why file FIRs against the participants? Simply because the language they used was offensive? As if you never swore or cursed anyone in public. While we may frown at obscene or profane language in public, we must understand that it was only for humor and not targeted at anyone. Unless the humor was generated at the expense of someone who was not a willing participant, there is no basis for argument here.