Tag Archives: BJP

National political parties and psychology of media & Kejriwal

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Arvind Kejriwal, Kejriwal, AAP, Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi Government, Alternative Politics, Congress, AICC, BJP, RSS, Track2Media ResearchThere can be no worse travesty of justice in India’s electoral politics than to create a hype that the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal has emerged as an alternative to narendra Modi. Worse even is the propaganda that Kejriwal is now the face of honest politics across the country.

Beyond the fact that Kejriwal’s integrity has been questionable right from the very beginning and beyond the fact that he has no unique vision of economic growth than the tried and tested populism, lies the fact that the only message in his electoral victory has been a wave against the Congress party. And Arvind Kejriwal proved to be smart enough to play with the psychology of the media which needed an element of novelty in the national mainstream.

As a matter of fact, the national media and Arvind Kejriwal are today complementing each other in terms of creating an atmosphere where evoking public sentiment is the sole objective. Does it make Arvind Kejriwal a national leader? Can he be the face of nationally accepted challenge to Centre the way Congress can?

The answer to this question is a counter question in itself—does Kejriwal has that element of novelty to offer across the country which he so smartly played in Delhi? Even in Delhi all the high voltage media orchestrated campaign could not give him a decisive mandate in the firt attempt. In the second attempt the infighting of the BJP, added with his malicipus campaign against the BJP and fear psychosis among Congress voters worked.

Worse even, he had to ally with the same Congress against whom he started his political campaign in the first attempt. It just reminds of the ‘India Shining’ campaign of Atal Behari Vajpaee Government where a section of media went over-board in calling Vajpayee’s term as ‘Golden Era’ of Indian politics.

Unfortunately, the nation does not exist in Delhi nor goes to vote as per the whims and fancies of a few journalists who influence the news room of these TV channels. India is too large and heterogeneous in terms of its local needs, aspirations and political orientation.

And the reasons why national political parties are increasingly losing to the regional parties are precisely the same—they cannot take one stand in one part of the country and contrary stand in other part.

Kejriwal also understands this dilemma and the cunning politician in him is thus avoiding all the relevant national issues and focussing only on the oft-repeated secularism, even at the cost of relegating the corruption agenda to dustbin.

This worked for him to some extent in Delhi, but will definitely not work in the vast heartland where the regional political parties are too deep rooted to address those issues.

More importantly, his evasive stance on core issues like reservation, social justice, Kashmir etc will get exposed soon, and much like the two national parties he will lose out to the regional forces in the process.

The media in the process has been repeatedly trying to force feed the message to the two national political parties that this is the changing face of Indian politics and they need to change. This is media’s sure shot recipe of disaster.

For instance, the Congress party has suffered much worse electoral set-back in the past, be it post the JP Movement or after the VP Singh’s rebellion on alleged corruption in Bofors. If Congress could fight it out and come back strongly, it was because the party did never try to copy the style of JP, Lohiya or VP Singh. Nor should it do now, come what may.

Similarly, the BJP should not be much worried over the media verdict of Kejriwal playing spoiler to the party of Narendra Modi. The world is not lost if BJP lost elections in Delhi. But if the BJP tries to compromise with its core issues and agenda, then definitely it is doom day ahead.

In the past, the comeback of BJP strongman Yedurappa in Karnataka is a strategically more smart move for the BJP then heeding to what media tells the BJP.

After all, the strength of both the national parties are their regional leaders today, and howsoever corrupt or disgraceful they may have been they are repeatedly being elected not by the mercy of media but on the merit of their grass root connect.

To assume that suddenly the conscience of the people has been awakened and they will turn hostile to their political loyalty and opt for a new so-called honest party should be too hypothetical to be believed by the national political parties.

The challenge today for the national political parties is to not get into the trap of copying the style of politics what the media says is now reality. It is not politics of denial, as suggested by the media but it is the politics of not falling into the trap of holier-than-thou kind of politics that should be the focus of the political parties.

By: Ravi Sinha

Congress blames an agenda-less PM Modi to declassify Netaji files

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Congress, AICC, Congress Party, BJP, Communal Politics, Indian politics, Track2Media ResearchThe BJP, and its ideological masters, the RSS claim they are nationalists, but have no leaders who they can claim played a constructive role in the freedom struggle. Their lack of a legacy has forced them to try and appropriate the legacy of Congress stalwarts like Sardar Patel, Neta ji Subhas Chandra Bose and Babasaheb Dr BR Ambedkar.

It is an old BJP-RSS tactic, which, unfortunately, overlooks the fact that former Congress President Sardar Patel banned the RSS following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

The declassification of Netaji files has been done with an eye on the forthcoming West Bengal elections. In the past, they have tried to lay claims on the legacy of Shri Biju Patnaik in Orissa, Ch. Devi Lal in Haryana and Ch. Charan Singh in Uttar Pradesh.

They even tried to appropriate the legacy of Babasaheb Dr BR Amdedkar and Kanshi Ram, despite the fact that the BJP government is openly pushing an anti-Dalit and anti-poor agenda, which was exposed by the expulsion of Rohith Vemula and his subsequent suicide at the Hyderabad Central University.

The BJP-RSS have long tried to appropriate the word Nationalism, despite promoting a divisive agenda. They are unwilling to acknowledge that India is a plural country, whose true strength is its diversity and ability to accept every opinion.

India is unique in the world, where completely differing identities can come together and forge a nation that is democratic, equal and just. The BJP is trying to destroy this by spreading hatred. They must be stopped before they destroy the idea of India.

India’s collective intelligence failure with holier-than-thou politics

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By: Ravi Sinha

Crowd, Protest, India Against Corruption, Arvind Kejriwal, Holier than thou politics, Lokpal, Narendra Modi, BJP, Congress, Track2Media ResearchRecently during the course of a discussion over the social media, a Supreme Court lawyer friend reminded me of my stiff resistance to the so-called Second Freedom Movement in the garb of Lokpal launched by Anna Hazare and hijacked by the political opportunist Arvind Kejriwal.

This Supreme Court Attorney wrote, “The biggest asset of neutrality Ravi ji lies in non-performing neutrality. Hope you remember your relentless fight against Kejriwal and his cam followers, wherein you have single handedly unleashed a vitriolic attack on those people who were intoxicated by the neo-romanticism of movement (if at all it was). And immediately you are proved right, when we find that the alleged crusaders are nowhere to be seen today. The search for morality, or the lack of it, is merely the pompous face of an inferiority complex.”

The fact of the matter is that behind the pompous faces asking for corruption free moralist society, it was quite visible that the collective intelligence failure of the nation was leading to a holier-than-thou politics. Anna Hazare’s sudden emergence on the centre stage of national politics arousing mass hysteria may have an element of surprise for post-JP generation. After all, they have not seen the mass movements and hence fail to understand the thin line that bifurcates between a national movement and mob hysteria.

But the serious students of conventional school of political science know how the lack of maturity in collective consciousness can easily arouse popular sentiments with someone taking a moral high ground. India and many other developing countries have been even more vulnerable than matured democracies. However, what makes this retired driver-turned-self styled crusader a case study in modern political science is the fact that his sudden upsurge did reflect a collective intelligence failure of the entire civil society, whom Anna has always claimed to represent.

A political campaign turns out to be a national movement only when strong wave of anti-establishment perception is supplemented by an alternative, better and, more importantly, viable political model in mind. Had Anna Hazare’s well orchestrated media event got that element to be called a revolution?

It is a different matter of debate altogether whether a mob of few thousand can be termed the entire civil society. The nation may got into a high voltage Facebook/Twitter discussion on whether Lokpal has been a panacea to the evils of corruption, or academicians started debate whether parliament or any other pressure group in the country will make the law; the core issue of corruption never remained in the spotlight in this cacophony.

It seems the entire nation for some time was driven by a “heard hypothesis” where people were not bothered as to their outburst was at what cost and for whose benefit. The cost-benefit analysis of this media stunt indicates some smart operators of this campaign were the only beneficiaries, though such theatrics has a short shelf life as time proved it.

When I first said collective intelligence failure, I was pretty conscious of the fact that I was inviting some more hate mails calling me anti-national and traitor, some more Facebook comments calling me names, and a journalist as then ruling party agent. However, the fact of the matter is that such knee jerk reactions only strengthened my conviction that nation at that critical juncture was reflecting a collective intelligence failure where Anna Hazare was just the symbol of that malaise.

Let’s face the facts. Corruption in a capitalist economy of a developing nation is an issue and will always be, Lokpal or no Lokpal. But whether it will become a national election issue is a questionable proposition in a society where we enjoy transactional corruption in day-to-day lives and cry foul over collusive corruption at the power and policy level.

The bigger issue to be probed is why such a mobocracy was not nipped in the bud. While a 73-year-old rigid man with a childish ‘my way or highway’ attitude seemed to have kept the entire democratic process and constitution on gun point, this lack of intelligence made one of the largest democracies in the world on a ransom call, and a matter of ridicule for the western powers who were always apprehensive of Indian GDP growing at their cost.

When a larger conspiracy against country’s democratic process was being planned in the name of ‘India Against Corruption’, with a moral high ground, of course, what was the intelligence machinery of the country doing? Why did not it get noticed that people behind this so-called noble cause had alternate channel of foreign funds in their NGOs?

Intelligence officials admit that they could not see this coming, though they had warned the Government of the larger conspiracy coming in post-Ramdev episode. However, this will go as an intelligence failure number one in the history of India’s crisis with political transition.

The second intelligence failure, and the most glaring one, had been by the then ruling establishment, both at the party level and the government level. In the absence of any real grass root leader in the think tank, the Congress Party and the UPA Government kept groping in the dark and took one step forward and two backwards. All their counter-offensive experiments, including hobnobbing with Ramdev, fall flat on their faces.

In this intelligence failure number two, a small time political blackmailing was given legitimacy by none other than the government itself. Why did the government allow a small group of holier-than-thou team to be part of India’s policy making? If engaging the civil society was the objective, there should have been a diverse set of civil society groups to have the real meeting of minds and aspirations. This could also have served the purpose of check & balance in the event of political blackmailing. But it was more of applicable intelligence failure on their part and hence they eventually suffered with a “foot in the mouth” syndrome.

The third glaring intelligence failure, something that once threatened to derail the future democratic process in India, had been by the opposition parties, mainly the BJP. In their quest to topple the UPA Government, backed by their masters in the RSS, their intelligence failed to see the larger picture ahead and hence created a Frankenstein monster in Arvind Kejriwal post Anna Hazare’s realisation that how he was just being used by his own protege. The BJP is today paying the price of it in Delhi and Kejriwal’s well-orchestrated media stunts are BJP’s insult to injury now.

All that the BJP could see at that point of time was a beneficial move in the short term, without realising the heavy price that the party and the nation had to bear in the long term. No democratically elected government, including that of BJP, can afford a rigid civilian old-man with a ‘my way or highway’ stand come in the way of policy making. But their intelligence failure drove them to attempt at creating their own Bhindranwale, that too in the national politics. Today, many BJP leaders privately admit that Kejriwal is too big an embarrassment to Modi Government and the party.

Fourth failure in intelligence was noticed in media which seemed to have forgotten its objectivity and acted as a party to mob inciting. Asking people to react by displaying the Facebook/Twitter ids of Team Anna, media got into a rat race to outscore over the rival channels. Well, the TRP game one can understand, but very much like public outburst such TRPs are easy to get but difficult to sustain. In exchange, media lost its credibility and had this theatrics succeeded in derailing the democracy, media might have been the worst to suffer.

Had your collective wisdom failed to see that this ‘my way or highway’ brand of blackmail politics, if having allowed to grow, could have led to your censorship as well? Why did not you find a single voice of dissent to Anna’s childish behaviour? It is a gang rape to the very ethics of journalism when a media trial takes place in television studio with carefully selected three panelists from Anna Hazare camp and only one against the move.

Will somebody please define whether a crowd of few thousands, making a mockery of law & order can be termed as unprecedented national movement? Did Mahatma Gandhi or Jai Prakash Narain had the luxury of media budget, Twitter/Facebook to incite the mob and gather crowd? Still, lakhs and lakhs of supporters had taken to streets. This is because they not only had a valid reason, but also an alternative, viable and better establishment to offer.

The fifth intelligence failure had been of the ‘Aam Admi’ who would have suffered the most. Howsoever fancy he might be finding the idea of a plebiscite democracy, the fact remains that it is his emotional outburst against corruption that had been channelized by the smart operators in this whole bloody game. Most of the crowd on the road had absolutely no idea what is the basic difference between Lokpal and Jan Lokpal. Everyone seems to have been nursing his own fantasy of a better society the Anna way.

Having said this, intellectuals who were on the other side of the debate and didn’t subscribe Anna Hazare’s method or the madness, are equally to be blamed for being a mute spectator.

Today, Anna has lost whatever moral high ground or credibility he might be having, and Kejriwal being reduced to a Delhi level politician whose only craft is Abusing & Accusing. But the whole episode has left many learning for a society eager for recognition, the lack of which often leads to public sentiments boiling down to mass hysteria.

In a nutshell, it has been the failure of India as a matured democracy. And it has never been about just one Bill. Had this political theatrics succeeded or the government been forced to grant the largesse, by tomorrow there would have been demand for many more such legislations by undemocratic means, by various other pressure groups in the country. And that could have been the beginning of the end of Indian democracy. Sadly, the collective intelligence seems to have not taken any lesson even now, and that threatens to spell doom for India.

Modi’s opponents playing on his turf

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Nrendra Modi, BJP, RSS, NDA Government, Indian Economy, Track2Media ResearchThe very basic of politics, or life for that matter, says one should force the opponent to play on a neutral turf, if not on his own turf. The ruling BJP in general and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular is fortunate to have not only got a massive mandate but an ideologically challenged and confused opposition.

It is no secret that the brand of politics that has mentored Modi thrives on the issues of pseudo nationalism and communal polarization. And yet, a confused opposition is wasting its energy to nail him on the very same plank. This continues to polarize the right wing support base of BJP.

To ridicule BJP for its lack of right wing intellectual clout in the governance and national policy may be having merit in absolute terms but in relative term it helps than harms the Modi Government. Blame it on the same poor intellectual orientation of Modi’s voters but that is a reality. You condemn Modi for communal polarization, intolerance or being intellectually challenged, it adds to his charisma as he is addressing a very different kind of voters.

Modi cannot be nailed beyond a point even on foreign policy issues for being directionless. The lack of diplomacy is being compensated with the unprecedented event management of the government. When Modi says “Pehli Baar” (First Time) he is referring more to the kind of glamour that he has added to his foreign trips than anything substantive. The cheerleaders only know when to clap; for what to clap is beyond their level of understanding.

Add to it, the support base of the NRIs whose business interests in the country always translates as diplomatic success for a Prime Minister who is a master craftsman of creating a mass hysteria. Modi can never be nailed with criticism for being symbolic than substantive.

What then is his weak link? What is that one single issue on which this entire government looks to be on the back foot? It is the economy. Sadly, no one in the opposition seems to realize this. Nail it there and they have no answers to offer.

Historically it has been an ideological dilemma of the BJP’s mentor RSS as to what extent Swadeshi should be practiced and how far modern realities need to be embraced. This time the confusion is even more on issues ranging from economic mismanagement to over-promise that brought this government to office.

A government that adds the 2.2 percentage of deflation to the 5.2 percentage of GDP growth to glorify it as 7.4% growth definitely has very poor economics in the backroom. This is where his support base also goes into silence as the sliding Indian economy with nose-diving job market is something that hurts everyone, including die-hard Modi bhakts.

Modi called former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “Anarth Shastri” over rise in petrol prices. The then UPA II Government was selling it at the rate of Rs. 70 plus when the international crude prices were at its historic peak level of $140 plus.

Today, at its historic lows when the international crude prices are hovering around $32-36, all that the Modi Government is doing is to keep the excise duty increasing. What for? This is something that the opposition needs to ask and make it known to the public at large.

The opposition that continues to play on the traditional strength of Modi has asked not many questions on the economic nonsense. The think tank within the BJP, if any they have, must be smiling.

Seven-point itch with Modi Government

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By: Ravi Sinha

Track2Media Exclusive

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, BJP, NDA Government, RSS, Saffron party in India, Communal Politics, Modi Government failures Signs of fatigue for an outgoing government are nothing new in India and we as a nation have time and again been witness to this. In recent past the government of Manmohan Singh has been a case in point. A look at the Indian democratic polity post the independence suggests that bigger the mandate, the more chances of collapse since the bigger mandate also amounts to even bigger expectations.

The Narendra Modi Government that came to power with a landslide victory, however, is a reverse case study as the fatigue is quite visible in less than two years. It definitely raises a question mark over the future sailing, if not survival, of a government that is led by a man whose self-obsession is well known to refer himself as a man with 56-inch chest.

Conflicting messages and confusing overtones are the signs of a weak government. It was supposed to be India’s strongest government ever. Why then is so much of contradictory signals coming out of the power corridors today? Has Modi Government lost its way out? Why has the very same media that till recently idolized him as messiah of development started questioning over non-performance? Or simply, the is man himself unable to accept his loss of invincibility?

There is no denying that the incumbent government is no more the same Modi Government after the face loss in Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections. The by-elections and municipal body elections in many parts of the country, including his own turf Gujarat has further eroded a myth around his invincible image.

What is wrong with Modi Government? Why are Indians recalling the same maligned Manmohan Singh as the much better Prime Minister who was cursed by the Indians till recently? Why is social media more sarcastic to Modi today than even Manmohan Singh who fell victim to a larger publicity blitz & design of opposition?

In order to understand the direction, or the lack of it, one has to get into the pain points of Modi Government. The first and foremost reason why Modi looks like a liability than asset, of late, is the intellectual bankruptcy of the government. Even one of the Party Vice Presidents, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe was recently caught on the wrong foot when he admitted that Congress Party has better talent pool and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is finding it tough to revamp the Union Cabinet with the kind of people around.

This intellectual bankruptcy is coming into the way of smooth functioning of both the government as well as the party. However, what aggravates the crisis of the government is “ignorance with arrogance”. This second weakness of Modi Government is as lethal as the first one, if not more. The government is too top heavy in its decision making with PM along with Finance Minister and a few non-government players, including Amit Shah standing larger than their shadow.

The party sources maintain there is an inherent fear among the ministers and no one thinks he is allowed to speak his mind even when asked to. The order and diktat flows from top to bottom.

This is not just state of affairs within the party but official sources maintain that the worst victim is the bureaucracy. There is a clear fear-factor that forces the officials to fall in line, even though the line drawn by the government is directionless. No wonder, many of them just come to office with their intelligence not driving them to take any independent decision.

For example, no one knows who recently forced the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) to Photoshop Modi inspecting Chennai relief, only to embarrass the government when exposed.

More importantly, with less experience of office and more ego at its helm, this government has failed on the critical front of floor management of the House. It has also completely failed to engage with the opposition parties on critical issues that dampen the governance today. “My way or high way” might work for you as opposition party but once in the office the government has to communicate & connect with even those whom they might despise otherwise.

This ignorance with arrogance is not only affecting the functioning of the government but is also the root cause of third and probably most vital failure – the fiscal mismanagement that is blocking the real growth potential of the country. At a time when the international crude oil prices have hit the lowest level with $30 per gallon, there is no relief to the Indians, nor is it helping the Indian economy with repeated hike of excise duty.

It is noteworthy that the reasons of flipping Indian economy during the UPA II Government’s tenure-end was crude prices touching all time high at $147 dollar per gallon. Today, the government’s understanding that hike in excise duty is the way forward to manage current account deficit and put the economy on fast forward track can at best be described as poor economic sense.

There is a clear lack of understanding that the key to economic revival is to increase the demand in the economy, which can be done only through lowering the prices of petrol/diesel and corresponding decrease in the prices of all essential commodities, that could also strengthen the purchasing power.

Fourthly, since the government is increasingly getting directionless, they are resorting to the so-far tried and tested formula of overpromise that brought them to power. Most of the policy announcements of Modi Government look like an election speech. Even some of his pet projects, like Smart City, Housing4All and Swachh Bharat have proved to be non-starters for all the practical purposes. The RTI filed on these programmes and other critical reforms suggest there is no blue print yet ready even though the government has done all it could to make it seen as “already done” through media trial.

Fifth reason of Prime Minister Modi giving impression of governance fatigue is media, or its over-use. TV, Newspapers, Radio, Twitter and what not! Modi Government has gone so much into over-projection that under-performance is naturally being compared in the collective consciousness. When the governance turns into event management, then media might be a direct and indirect beneficiary; the public is definitely a loser. And the government is even bigger a loser as it loses credibility in collective consciousness where everything is being seen as advertising.

Sixth problem is that the over-use of media in this government is also pampering the fringe elements in the government to strive for their share of limelight. As a result, there are repeated communal overtones & intolerance that is plaguing the Indian society today. The BJP and its ideological mentor RSS has always advocated for most of the issues that the motormouth elements in the government are today championing. Yet, the damage that it has done to the credibility of the government is immense. Perils of being in the government!

The BJP could not have come this far banking only on the cadre-based votes that it traditionally has. The Brand Modi that the campaign managers so successfully created was meant to translate into aspiration and definitely not communal ambition. The youths and many first-time voters are today feeling cheated.

Seventh, but probably not the last, itch of the government is Selfie-driven foreign policy. The kind of seriousness that India’s foreign policy needs, especially at a time when challenges are many, it has been compromised for cheap publicity. In its self-obsession the Modi Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular seem to forget the fact that country needs serious investors to invest and not the Selfie-type business class that wants back-door policy incentives on the virtue of “Selfie with PM”.

Modi’s deliberate and often imposed friendship with world leaders is also not doing any good to the diplomatic image of India. The kind of seriousness that is needed for international diplomacy is definitely missing today. As far as Pakistan and terrorism is concerned, the failures are all too obvious. The image of the government is further dented because when in opposition the same Modi talked like a “one-man army with 56 inch chest” whenever there was any issue with this hostile neighbour. Today, for some inexplicable reasons he has taken a complete “U” turn.

In conclusion, more than three years to go and the mandate with massive majority is with the government. But what can be vouchsafed at this point of time is that never before in the history of India an incumbent government became so unpopular in the initial two years, though there are many instances of last two years being nightmare to the outgoing governments. If well begun is half done, then bad begun is probably never done.