New Rabbit, Same Hat

There seems to be a perception of a massive change for the better with Modi getting elected. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds, because all I am seeing is that a political puppet that got exposed and thus rendered useless got discarded for its alternative. Or perhaps more accurately, one out of two political puppets got exposed and rendered useless and got discarded, leaving the full weight of the masters behind one.

I had brought this up when the scam exposes started, triggering the UPA2 spiral into the abyss. It was the government getting exposed and rightly so, but the absence of scrutiny on the other side of who was profiting from the government corruption was a telling indicator that long back. The absence of scrutiny from the opposition was easily covered up with big dramas to media and outrages in Parliament, but rarely over anything that did not get exposed in other ways already, and almost never with legal action and accountability (they have since *acquired* Subramanian Swamy for a fig leaf on that).

It is no coincidence that media buried the paid news report either. It is a larger part of the corporate media puzzle, where the free speech of media hasn’t been muzzled, but prostrated. You are not supposed to see the non-audience facing side of the set.

While there were two corporate puppets, with the traditional “rulers” leading, the stakes weren’t as high. It was important that the puppet win, but it was okay if the other one got chosen as well. When that ended, the stakes grew higher in making the remaining puppet win.

The India that imagines that Gujarat is actually some kind of Shangri-la that will spread India wide is in for a rude awakening. People from Gujarat still end up in Maharashtra for work. The promises and methods of the BJP offer nothing that would give a different result from the UPA2.

All that we have got is a fresh face with its make up in tact, unlike the UPA2 with its running mascara and ugly scars showing. For a while, the facade will last, then the stories will seep through, because neither in Gujarat, nor in its manifesto is anything that will actually prevent the government from misusing its power, which is already happening in Gujarat.

All that we will have is a government better able to fool the people into trusting it, and you’d damn well expect so, given the kind of money being poured into convincing the people of the promised land!

At the end of the day, it is business as always as far as India is concerned, only with the side effect of the other risks that come with this puppet.

There is no end to dynastic politics. The Modi wave has swept UP carefully around the rulers. Both the Gandhis, supposedly much hated by BJP made it without any particular visible intent by BJP to rout them other than a token Modi rally in Amethi after Kumar Vishvas started making a visible challenge and dividing the anti-Congress vote became important. Where Aam Aadmi Party didn’t have the resources to mount a big challenge, in Rae Bareily, Sonia Gandhi breezed through without any particular challenge from the BJP either. “Mullah” Mulayam Singh Yadav, much reviled by BJP, won from both seats he contested in a state where the Modi tsunami was on, Dharmendra Yadav and Dimple Yadav won too. What is stunning is the win of Akshay Yadav – entering politics for the first time, pitted against a BJP MP who was earlier in the SP and with a massive Modi wave backing him. The Modi wave did not harm him either, even as it decimated both Congress and SP otherwise.

Its job of electing the next emperor done, media is emerging from its Modi haze to now raise questions about him. Possibly because alarmed journalists too are realizing that this isn’t an NDA government, or even merely a BJP government, but a BJP government without even a proper opposition. And journalists who toed working briefs now have to look at what they have wrought and are not so sure this is what they had set out to achieve.

It does not matter. If questioning couldn’t stop the UPA, which at least had the sense to deny or apologize for wrongs in public, it is not going to matter at all to the BJP which has long made a virtue of public claims of innocence and victimization while deploying other tracks of communication to actually defend its actions and show them as in the interests of India. The media has been rendered mostly irrelevant in a system carefully crafted to maintain impunity for the powerful. By the time the media will be needed again, there will be a nice lull to erase memories and anyone with too many neurons will be shuttled away to where they can’t be heard.

For the rest of the country, it is going to be life as usual, interspersed with some nice goodies to keep them aware of how their lives are transformed, while the very country gets eroded from under their feet in invisible ways. Do contact me if living actually becomes easier for you by next year because ab ki baar Modi.

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4 thoughts on “New Rabbit, Same Hat”

  1. This confirms once again that AAP members and it’s selfproclaimed intellectuals (cheer leaders) are just communists who are in a new camp. Mr. Yechury, Sanjay Jha (Congress), etc., are still trying to use their scare tactics that there is some inbound doomsday of democracy, the idea of India, sickularism, blah, blah, blah. While Congress is in awe how BJP allegedly taken to a new level, their PR, campaign and ‘using media’ tools, the left is in awe as to how NaMo’s campaigning has shatters their bases in West Bengal and pierced their shields created out of subversion and distortion (TMC’s vote share remained intact, but the CPI/CPM’s votes went to BJP though they didn’t win). And ofcourse AAP who are again ‘self-proclaimed righteous’ lot, also fall flat in this wave. Now they have to rationaize their 4 MP win as amazing. A corrupt Jagan Mohan Reddy from AP also won for being a first timer. The communists colluded with colonial forces, just like AK/his organization receives fund from Ford. I hope there are no peanut brainers to expalin the difference between a private organization by few individuals and a government agency, in receiving funds. AAP’s manifesto is explictly communal offering protection to muslims, and extending reservations to dalit christians and muslims. AK left the studio when asked on his position for his position on Pakistan for a party aiming for national status. Just because AK was in Delhi, does not make it a national party. Many are set up at other palces like mushrooms with an agenda. He just hijacked Anna Hazare’s movement support as his base.

  2. What Are the Chances ?

    Over the past few weeks , we saw many surveys re: which political party will win how many Lok Sabha seats

    These included , Times Now-ORG / CNN-IBN-CSDS / Headlines Today – Cicero / ABP News-Nielsen / News 24 – Today’s Chanakya / Cvoter – India TV etc

    Although , ” Today’s Chanakya ” came closest to predicting the number of seats that NDA might win , others too were fairly accurate

    Using statistical techniques , they computed the Chance ( Probability ) for each party , based on asking a few thousands voters ( sample ) , their preferences

    Now is the time to survey the voters , once again , as to what do they believe , when it comes to BJP fulfilling its poll promises

    For each item ( of BJP’s poll manifesto ) , what is the perceived chance ( probability ) that the BJP Government will fulfill / deliver on its promises ? Will it be 10 % – 50 % – 100 % ?

    The outcome will determine BJP’s credibility among voters , vis-a-vis , its poll promises

    It may be even an eye-opener for BJP !

    If conducted and results published by end June 2014 , such a survey might even become a ” Self Fulfilling Prophesy ” !

    If it turns out less-than-flattering , BJP will work twice as hard to prove the pollsters wrong !

    Here are the ” Chances ” which I attach to fulfillment of each of BJP’s following poll promises , by the end of 3rd year :

    * Ensure minimization of Black Money and setting up of a Task
    Force ……… ( 50 % )

    * Special Courts to stop hoarding and black-marketing. ( 100 %)

    * Set-up a Price-Stabilization Fund…….( 100 % )

    * Develop labour-intensive Manufacturing … ( 10 % )

    * Empowering youth for Self-Employment… ( 25 % )

    * Transforming Employment Exchanges to Career Centers(10% )

    * Eliminating corruption thru E-Governance… ( 10 % )

    * Rationalization / Simplification of Tax-regime.. ( 20 % )

    * Insulate intelligence agencies from political intervention and
    interference….. ( 10 % )

    * Strengthening physical infrastructure with expediting work on
    freight and Industrial Corridors….. ( 15 % )

    * Setting up Gas-Grids and National Optical Fiber Network up to
    the village level……. ( 30 % )

    * Quadrilateral project for Bullet Trains….. ( 5 % )

    * Establishment of National E – Library….. ( 40 % )

    * Implementation of National Education Policy .. ( 50 % )

    * Evolving further the PPP model to PPPP model .. ( 50 % )

    * Building 100 Mega-Cities……………. ( 0 % )

    Did I miss out any ?

    Parallel with whatever the Pollsters may – or may not – do , it would be worthwhile for BJP Tech-Team , to come out with a mobile App ( to be named , ” RUN – Rate Us Now ” ? ), to find out what voters feel , on a 5 star scale

    Or , an App that would let the voters prioritize among various promises

    * hemen parekh ( 19 May 2014 / Mumbai )

  3. Hi Vidyut,

    This is not a comment for this article but just a letter. I didn’t have your email ID so had to use this platform to reach out to you. I understand that you reserve the right to moderate the comments on your blog, so this letter would have remained with you before reaching public gaze, not that I want to avoid that, but letters are meant to be personal.

    That said, if you find this means of communicating intrusive, please accept my apologies. Intrusion or causing offence was not my intention.

    The purpose of my letter is to share my perspective on Arvind Kejriwal with you, especially in light of Lok Sabha election results. We had a brief talk on one your earlier posts as well, I should have dropped the letter there, but my internet connection is shaky so I went with the 1st link to your blog that worked on it.

    There are broadly 3 points that I wish to bring to your notice:

    1.) AAP performance in LS-14: As mentioned in my earlier post to you, a lot of good has indeed come out of spreading across 400+ constituencies. Also, this time people were electing a highly publicised PM. In many areas, the lack-lustre performance of AAP was more due to votes going in favour of BJP than votes going against AAP. In case of Medha Patkar for instance. Or Gul Panag. These were not candidates to be rejected. AAP itself, as a concept, has not been rejected by the people. These elections were about money and money won.
    So either we can say that AAP lost because only 4 out of 400+ people won, or we can say AAP won because in 1.5 years they managed 4 MPs. Only a matter of perspective, and noone can be blamed for thinking either ways.
    Also, this defeat has an amazing though unintended benefit. There were many candidates who joined AAP only for an MP ticket hoping to get “power” through short-cut means. Those are the very people making the most noise today. These opportunists will get sieved out, at least most of them, in the aftermath of this defeat.
    Lastly, AK & other leaders always said that AAP is here to change the way politics is done. In light of this intent, AAP has a huge victory, and we cannot write it off because quantitative data is always more tangible than qualitative data.
    In light of all of the above, it is also a view-point where we see AK as a leader who managed to strengthen the party’s second line by recruiting good local leaders, who came out of the nastiest elections of Indian history having maintained the USP of his party i.e. its honesty, and who could motivate a million volunteers to behave properly. All 3 things which the winning party’s top leaders have failed to do.

    2.) Silence of top-leaders post elections: I myself visit their pages on twitter or search for news about them impatiently every 5 hours to see if they have bounced-back or not. But as you yourself suggest that they need to introspect now. Introspection cannot happen in public domain. They are now forming a national organization, revising strategies, re-considering options, trying to reason with members like Ilias Azmi, and focusing on matters that got sidelined during elections e.g. only yesterday AK visited Late Mr. Chandra Mohan’s family & spoke to Prashant Bhushan about ways to get justice in that matter. Also, with media jumping up & down at every error on part of the company & blowing it out of proportion, they need to be careful before making a hasty public statement. All of them made a dignified acceptance of defeat, delivered congratulations where it was due, and got back to doing what all of us want them to do: introspection.
    Sanjay Singh posted about AAP-UP meet to work on strategy. Many such activities are happening in many divisions that we don’t know of. And keeping a low-profile while avoiding media-glare could actually be a wise thing to do now.
    I agree, that they should keep the volunteers in the loop so that the morale doesn’t drop. For the active volunteers, this is being done. Meetings have already been organized in most circles to thank them & to dioscuss shortcomings with them. We had our Jaipur meeting yesterday and the Rajasthan Secretary for AAP was also there. They also charted out a rough to-do list for the upcoming Municipality elections here.
    So if AK is maturing as a leader & is becoming more cautious of his public image, it is a good sign because there is no denying that the party needs him. AAP cannot afford to let go of him on the basis of a defeat which cannot be ascribed to leadership failure alone. There were many other & much bigger reasons for it. In fact whether it was a defeat also or no, is debatable as I highlighted in the previous point.
    Lastly, for volunteer morale, AK backing off admitting failure where failure has not occurred in many senses would be more disastrous. It will further deteriorate AAP’s credibility in public eye. To explain the 49-day government is difficult as it is. Imagine the fodder BJP & paid-media will get if AK resigns as party head. I can only picture Arnab Goswami tiring his lungs on this. With Delhi elections so close, that is something that cannot be risked.

    3.) Delhi Elections: It is clear that they are due anytime now. A top leadership change at this point will mean a change in the face of the party in public eye. Even if we argue that AK could still be CM candidate & someone else could coordinate party affairs, that has high chances of back-firing because AK resigning as party chief would tarnish his image as an administrator, a shortcoming noone wants to see in their CM.
    A national-level poor performance in Lok Sabha elections, getting 2nd position in all seats in Delhi in Lok Sabha elections when the public was more focused on electing the PM & did not care much about its MPs (otherwise how could a Manoj Tewari be seen as a better choice than Prof Anand Kumar), and Delhi Assembly elections which will be held on 70 seats – are 3 very different equations & cannot be compared. “Modi for PM & KejriwaL for CM” idea has still not lost its charm for many. If in the Modi-leher (pseudo or otherwise), the margins were only as much as a lakh per seat, in Delhi Assembly elections, the picture is not as dismal if not as rosy.

    With this, I will reiterate a point I made in my previous post to you – whenever there are multiple candidates at the 2nd level, and only 1 moves ahead to the top, the remaining dissatisfied ones find it hard to continue under the leadership of that one person. Take the case of Congress when Nehru assumed leadership, many well-meaning leaders who were his equals walked off & formed new parties. In all big companies, when it comes to choosing the next CEO out of the available 2-3 options, those who do not get selected, walk out. AAP is too nascent to afford this disintegration. Moreover to find a replacement for AK with the same image, because even opponents have to admit he is honest, would be a difficult task. I’m not saying there won’t be other honest people, I’m talking solely in terms of “image” here. It matters when you are dealing with the manner in which voters function.

    I have written this novel-sized letter to you to request you to consider these points in your well-intended criticism of AAP. I won’t ask you to stop criticising. It is your right, and not only because you stood by AAP during elections, but on many other grounds it is your right. And most importantly because your criticisms are directed at the betterment of the party.

    I hope you will consider my request because AAP as a concept cannot be allowed to decimate so soon. And if there are glaring possibilities of anything as drastic as making major leadership-changes or acceptance of absolute defeat contributing to a scenario where the existence of AAP could be threatened, we should be careful. There might come a day when AK has to step down due to his own inefficiency or in light of better options being available, as it does with all leaders, but that day is not today. Today, we let him introspect, improve, and mature.

    Thank you for you time.

    Should you wish to respond, please write. Akriti dot sums at the rate of gmail dot com. Somehow I don’t get an email alert when my post on your blog gets a response, and I then have to ctrl+H & find the link & revisit. Hence, the electronic mail route.

    Also, I’ll take this opportunity to say that although I have begged to differ with you in my letter so far on some points, I’m a great admirer of your straight-forwardness & views on many other issues. You do a favour to many with your writing.


    1. Amen! Thank You Akriti for articulating the Idea of AAP & AK so wonderfully. Do we want to Inject Goodness, Purity, Idealism in our Society, Politics, Economics & Nation? AAP provides us a wonderful vehicle ! Why should we throw our baby (AAP & AK) with the bathwater of mistakes – which we definitely need to correct. The Project is Good but needs Improvement. Let us be the force for that Change-Improvement instead of staying aloof or pronouncing judgements which destroy the Project itself.

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