Tag Archives: RSS

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

Modi’s opponents playing on his turf

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Track2Media Exclusive

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.