Illustration by Soham Sen
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
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Lal Krishna Advani’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) founded the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with 25-plus partners in 1998. That launched India’s most successful era of coalition politics. Since then, three coalitions, without a core party with a majority, lasted full terms.

By the fall of 2020 now, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s BJP has finished the NDA and written new rules and equations in national politics. Advani’s NDA is over, used and discarded.

You might wish to compare this with the Ashwamedha Yagna of our Vedic tradition. Once your sovereignty is established with the display of an unstoppable horse across the nation, what do you do? Sacrifice that blessed horse. The NDA was that sacrificial horse. And we say it with no sense of judgement.

It is still called an NDA government but, at this point, its 53-member strong Union council of ministers has only one coalition partner. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t recall who it is. I am also saving you the trouble of googling. It is Ramdas Athawale, of the Republican Party of India (RPI) faction named after himself, of course. He’s the solitary reminder of this being an NDA coalition government, a little bit like the Muslim driver of Advani’s ‘rath’ proving his secular commitment during his 1990 yatra.

Athawale reminds us of his presence every once in a while by saying something guaranteed to go viral. In the ministry, however, he is put in the place he belongs. His party has a small Dalit vote base in Maharashtra. So he is a Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment. It’s an aside, but the sole Muslim in this cabinet also holds the portfolio of Minority Affairs.

Can you hold this against the Modi-Shah BJP? The answer may lie in something that former Haryana chief minister (jailed for corruption, now on parole) Om Prakash Chautala famously said to me: “Hum yahan teerth yatra par nahin aaye. Rajneeti satta ke liye hoti hai (We haven’t come on a pilgrimage here. You do politics for power).” The new BJP passes that test, never mind the many crushed toes, broken limbs, decapitated allies and shattered egos.

Let’s jump from 1998 to 2014. The BJP won a majority. But seven allies were still part of the government: Shiv Sena, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had cabinet portfolios. Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (RLSP), and RPI (Athawale) had an MoS each, besides TDP.

If only Athawale survives six years later, in a government still definitionally of NDA, it tells us how radically our national politics has changed. In its sway over national politics now, the Modi-Shah BJP is what the Congress was under Indira Gandhi. Why would they indulge coalition partners, their greed and egos now? They haven’t joined politics as a ‘teerth yatra’ either.


Also read: Modi, Shah think they don’t need allies like Sukhbir Badal. But they do


This is not an argument about the past. It is, on the contrary, a likely political driving map for the future. But, we need to refer to the past yet again. Not all of the parties Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee drew into their first NDA even survive now, the names of some may look like spelling errors today and even the UPSC topper will struggle to crack all their acronyms. But a bunch of names are far from forgettable.

The original NDA cabinets included George Fernandes as defence minister, the last such from a coalition partner to be in the hallowed Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). His comrade and sometimes frenemy Nitish Kumar held Railways and Agriculture ministries at different points in time. Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan were there too, with key portfolios. As was Suresh Prabhu, then in Shiv Sena. There was Naidu’s TDP with the Lok Sabha speaker (G.M.C. Balayogi), and the Abdullahs of the National Conference. It was an authentic umbrella coalition.

Now, Nitish is an NDA partner, he has nobody in the Union cabinet, and is diminishing by the day in Bihar. Even in the likely event of another term as chief minister of Bihar, it will be his last. With no successor in his family or party, the BJP will wait until he fully fades and then move in.

The BJP is now fighting a take-no-prisoners battle with former ally Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Whether she wins or loses, she will emerge weaker, with the BJP as the pre-eminent national party of the state. Naveen Patnaik is being left alone in Odisha, save some pin pricks because the BJP also knows he is ageing and the space he empties will be theirs. Expect them to move in for the kill well in time before the elections in 2024.

The playbook is familiar. A couple of dissidents will emerge making allegations, the CBI, ED and the rest will move in, favoured channels and social media will launch a war, and the odds will be impossible for any solitary chief minister, least of all one at Patnaik’s age in 2024. The Abdullahs spent almost a year in detention. As did Mehbooba Mufti, even though she became a BJP ally in the Modi-Shah era.

The Shiv Sena is now a bitter rival and Suresh Prabhu is in the BJP. Sharad Yadav is in the middle of nowhere and his daughter Subhashini just joined the Congress. Paswan dynasty’s an ongoing, familiar story and the upcoming Bihar election can mark the end of his party. Chandrababu Naidu is now a rival, and the man who vanquished him in Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, is at the mercy of the CBI and the ED. He’s fighting a desperate battle with the judiciary and the Modi government will always have leverage over him. Further south, the BJP is happy dealing with a weakened AIADMK and biding its time.


Also read: Partners dispensable in Modi-Shah construct if they do not bring additional votes


Politics is the cruellest form of warfare. We have a situation, therefore, where Patnaik, Reddy, Nitish, all know the inevitability of the BJP prying in their limited enclaves and edging them out in the course of time. They might still be fighting it in the elections.

Yet, they have no choice but to swallow their pride and have their MPs, especially in Rajya Sabha, vote with the BJP on the most important issues. You may be the emperor in your state. But the real power, the ‘agencies’, the national media, the moneybags, are all with the Centre that no longer needs you.

You can judge Modi-Shah for being what they are, the most ‘political’ government in India’s history, but they aren’t apologetic about it. You have to give it to them for their 24x7x365 obsession with politics and power of the kind never seen in India. Even their economic decisions, each one of them, is guided by politics.

That’s why interest rates will not be cut further, the Centre will not give a fiscal stimulus because that might increase inflation for the poor. Whatever fiscal sacrifice the government makes, will essentially go towards ensuring the extremely poor don’t go hungry. That compromise, between inflation, welfare and growth, is pure, de-risked politics. Similarly, it does not hesitate to keep taxes at the highest level ever on petroleum products. Because only the middle and the lower-middle classes drive automobiles. Their votes are in its vaults anyway.

That is the state of play in national politics going ahead. You like it, good for you. If you don’t, you will have to challenge this nearly accomplished Ashwamedha with more than just tweets that go viral. Advani is around. Please ask him. He won’t be disappointed. In 1998, he launched the campaign to transform Indian politics. Within his lifetime, his pupils have redeemed his pledge. If not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. Sorry, Nehru fans, for stealing this from him.


Also read: How is Modi’s BJP different from the one founded by Advani-Vajpayee 40 years ago?


 

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87 Comments Share Your Views

87 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly, I don’t read this stupid journalist. The heading is enough to tell me what he is trying to cook. This guy should be actually be employed as a class 4 employee with some local self governing body.

  2. BJP is political party with a distinct ideology and aims to capture power at centre and in ,if possible, in all states of India. In Democratic set up of any country it is not a goal that should be condemned or mocked in any way , as it is majority of the voters of the country that they are going decide who will rule the country . Once the voters have put faith in the leadership of the new party {BJP} and granted it full majority , it also means that the voters wants departure from the policies pursued by old party (Congress ). BJP got majority two times in a row without having footprints in all the geographical regions of India . It needed allies and support from regional bosses. But this can not be a permanent feature. It has every right to expand its area of influence –geographically or in various sections of people with political divide—which is divided on the basis of region, religion, languages . or even historically.
    If one study the history of past seven –eight decades, India has been having one dominant party – Congress earlier , and many small parties. Congress was lucky as it got governance of India on platter in 1946-47 by departing British government and Nehru ji , as matter of gratitude for his services to British Empire, was chosen and appointed PM at instance of London as their faithful successor —- ( In India CWC wanted Mr. Patel as PM. As 12 out of 13 CWC members , but they were over ruled at London. ) And Nehru used his tenure in establishing his DYNASTY as being sole ruler of India for decades to come. But , BJP and it earlier avatar BhartIya Jansangh has to struggle for every inch of the political space it is occupying . Due to massive mis-governance by UPA Government under the leadership of Sonia G ( PM MMS was just working like Titular head of the Government ) , BJP was entrusted by the voters of India to bring out the nation out of pits of corruption, insecurity, internal and external threats to nations existence .
    More BJP has got mandate by capturing 80-90% of seats in north , west and central parts of India, This performance in these geographical area can not be repeated all the times. So it is but natural for BJP to expand and for this it is free to use any legitimate political tools. More over people, particularly lower level leaders in the areas where NON-BJP regional parties are saddled, also need the support of some big party to challenge their regional Governing parties and for them emergence of BJP is going to prove boon to indulge and enter into politics. So BJP is welcome by them.
    Earlier ALLIES of BJP have noted that BJP s dependence on them will be reducing and they stand to loose their political clout once BJP gets more strong, so to safeguard ground under their feet they themselves as defense mechanism have started to snap ties with BJP. There is nothing surprising about this . This was bound to happen . Only Time and timing were uncertain. To some it may look too early.

    • ‘BJP is political party with a distinct ideology and aims to capture power at centre and in ,if possible, in all states of India.’

      What is its distinct ideology ? It is Hindu fascist. The aim is to capture power for the upper caste minority using anti-Muslim hatred – nothing more. That is alright for you. That is why you write one paragraph of obfuscations after the first sentence.

    • Well said Sir, agree every bit. Would like to add that there was a time Atal Bihari’s Government had fallen by one vote only. That had paved way for Modi Shah combine.

  3. Destruction of HAPPY NATION !
    If the people of India want to remain happy, Shah-Modi must not just get evicted from power, but banished from the country, alongwith any progeny or sycophants that they may have bred.
    India has seen enough suffering to be spared the egoistic power hungry shenanigans of these two evil individuals.

    • Make Owaisi as PM, Mamata as HM, Pappu as Defence Minster… We will live “happily” as Bomb blast and riots we will become daily norm, loose J&K, China and Pakistan will attack India, Babri Masjid will be reconstructed by demolishing Ram Mandir in the name of secularism, Article 370 will be restored… Probably Indians deserve this…. 1000 years of slavery has destroyed our intellectual thinking.

  4. The analogy of Ashwamegh is interesting but wrong. NDA was a need of the time in late 90s and it was a grand success. As BJP became more powerful since 2014, the need for support of regional allies went down and so the separation was a natural course of action. After all, whether it is Sena or JDU or LJP or Akali, they have to protect their own turf in their area whereas BJP ought to have national presence. It is to the credit of Modi Shah that they have managed to take BJP where it is today and they are fully focused on WB, Orissa and the South. SG is right when he mentions that Advani must be pleased with what BJP has achieved in his life time. The growth of the party is indeed remarkable over the years. It is also true that both Modi and Shah are totally political animals and they will do anything to keep their voters together. If Lalu and Mulayam invented so called ‘social engineering’ in UP and Bihar, BJP under Modi took it to the next level and united so called Hindu vote across castes and regions into one block thereby cutting the grass under the feet of so called secular parties like Congress and others. With this, there is no need for Ashwamegh Yagna to be performed!! You look around all the important positions in the country and they are filled with RSS background or linked ‘horses’! For a sickular, there cannot be a worse nightmare than this!!!

    Given that most of the BJP’s contentious agenda (Art 370, Ram Mandir, Triple Talaq, CAA etc is sorted now, how BJP will do in future depends mainly on Modi’s economic policies. He has taken care of the poor by his various pro poor policies but he has too unshackle the economy from the structural weaknesses of the by gone times. Sooner he does it, better it is for BJP and the country.

  5. In India, regional patties are declining due to their own karmas. As their bargain power eroded significantly, they are finding hard to survive. Politics is a game and regional satraps are loosing it very fast. That’s why either they are out of the game or they are in pavilion. Other players cannot be blamed for dismal performance of regional players.

  6. Modi-Shah are elected and not selected due to their family lineage. If someone does not like that, then he is not a accepting democratic process and thinks that somehow his intelligence is bigger than the outcome of democratic process. Accept change in the first place, especially in democracy, else the learning will come over again and again. Acceptance is a simple, humble and great value.

  7. You say BJP would move in Bihar and, Odisha,. Bengal would be weakened. In AP the Modi government would always have leverage over Jagan Mohan Reddy, and in TN the BJP is happy dealing with a weakened AIADMK and biding its time. This is something similar to what Maharaja Ranjit Singh had said when he was shown a map of India, with British possessions shown in Red colour. After seeing the map, he said, “Sab lal (Red) ho jayega”!

  8. ‘Yet, they have no choice but to swallow their pride and have their MPs, especially in Rajya Sabha, vote with the BJP on the most important issues. You may be the emperor in your state. But the real power, the ‘agencies’, the national media, the moneybags, are all with the Centre that no longer needs you.’

    India has metamorphosed into an elected autocracy, if not a Hindu fascist state yet. The autocracy is managed as SG says with the ‘agencies’, the national media, the moneybags. SG missed out the RSS’s storm troopers for enforcing communalisation – that is the main stay.

    There are many delusional Hindus who think this is progress. SG is learned enough to know that India is unraveling, although he cannot say it because the ‘agencies’ will visit him.

    What has reduced India to this ?

    The Congress is to blame. Hindus blame dynasty, but that issue is a relatively minor one. The main fault with Congress (right from the beginning) was that though it did not claim to be a Hindu party, it never denied entry to Hindu communalists . In its halycon days, it had Nehru and Gandhi, but also communal Hindus like Patel, Lala Lajpat Rai and Tilak (all glorified by the BJP). It was mistake to allow such people entry – such people drove away Jinnah from Congress and led many Muslims to opt for partition. Nehru perhaps would have been willing to bar entry to Hindu communalists, but Gandhi held sway – Maulana Azad wrote that it was Gandhi who inducted Patel, but the same Patel shouted abuse at Gandhi when he pressurised Patel to stop partition riots in Delhi. Patel was in favour of Hindu mobs massacring Muslims in 1947 (same as Modi in Guajrat 2002). Thus, Congress carried some of the baggage of Hindu communalists on board -if they had not done that, partition would not have happened. Patel, Tilak, Rai etc. would have been in RSS and Hindu Mahasabha, cooperating with the British.

    After independence, the RSS was banned and people accepted it because of their role in the murder of Gandhi. But Congress never went after them, to dismantle them thoroughly. Rajiv Gandhi unlocked the gates of the Babari masjid to appease the Hindus. A prominent RSS Brahmin in Congress was Narasimha Rao – a true, cunning Brahmin. The Babari masjid demolition would not have happened without his connivance. Even if you argue that the crowds got large and went out of control, afterwards Congress could have vigorously carried out the prosecution of Advani, Joshi and all the other Hindutva thugs. But it did not have the courage as it feared alienating the Hindus. Hindu communalism was appeased.

    After the Gujarat 2002 riots, Vajpayee and Advani shielded Modi. But when the Congress govt. came after Vajpayee’s, they should have vigorously prosecuted Modi and gone after the RSS. But they did not have the courage – perhaps because of their own record with the Sikh pogrom.

    The Congress allowed the RSS to grow into a state within a state. The RSS has killed Congress and all other opposition, through its front, the BJP.

    As for all the small parties, Nitish, Paswan, Biju etc. who were willing to be bedfellows of Hindu communalism and fascism, it is natural the matured crocodie will devour them eventually. No surprises.

    But the end result is a Brahmin led Hindu Nazi authoritarian state, which cannot deliver development, but which can feel emboldened to suspend democracy if people rebel. India’s economy is in tatters, all positions have to be vetted by RSS, and the most competent who are invariably from outside Hindu right wing cannot work with them. The country has to go down – and it is going down.

    • No discussion of Paris murder, because the subject is the BJP’s use of ‘ the ‘agencies’, the national media, the moneybags’ to control India.

      Engage your Hindu brain and discuss what is relevant. What has taken India down ? The BJP. Who is in the BJP ? All Hindus. What is their ideology ? Hindu communalism.

  9. Hard to understand the logic by SG. Its not BJP to blame if the coalition parties feel threatened by its growing presence. All these partners, be it: Shiv sena, TDP, RLSP , SAD or even JDU for that matter, have ( or had) left finding excuses to preserve their party existence as they could not tolerate BJP being the big brother on their home turf, even if it meant losing some of their vote bank. BJP does try to accommodate as much as it can even at the cost of their own winnable seats to preserve coalition but Maharashtra setback has forced them to be aggressive now. They have earned the right to do so, if its them who garner majority vote

  10. well i am not a fan of rahul gandhi and it is true that dynasties may lead to incapable rulers but ashoka was better than chandragupta , future is unpredictable or at least extremely hard to predict but what will happen when muslims are less than 1 percent in population and all the minorites have either converted to hindu or faded will u still be able to play communal politics, gen z will search for a leader of their liking. Lets rise above religions bcuz all this is a sign of मूर्खतापूर्ण some people will be butt hurt but india weakened itself from diversity and inter fighting giving advantage to enemies but maybe we can rise above religions and the first to go down and will go down is islam

  11. it will be interesting to see when Modi will no longer be around. This might even be his last one – pandemic has stretched time elapsed by compressing events. And Shah is no successor to Modi.

  12. “Even their economic decisions, each one of them, is guided by politics.”

    Which govt does not weigh the political consequences of any economic decision?

    And Shekhar Gupta wants readers to give their money to The Print for such moronic commentary.

  13. Shekhar ji, are you lamenting or just chronicling state of affairs of Indian politics.

    At one place you wrote that NDA will no longer indulge its partners’ GREED OR EGO, Yes, why it should??

    Despite your best efforts, you could not find fault with this NDA. Sorry, DNA of politics is like this only world over.

    Even MKG will not be able to prevail over party to anoint undeserving as PM in this age.

    • ‘Sorry, DNA of politics is like this only world over.’

      The purpose of politics is for leaders to provide governance and improve the life of citizens, It is not to get power by any means and find ways to keep in power at the expense of the country.

      If India had replaced Congress with something better, that would be fine. But it has replaced with something divisive, and people with cynical contempt for democracy.

      Modi and Trump are not examples for the world. Jacinda Ardren from NZ is the model.

      • What Modi has done in 18 years, no political party could deliver that.
        I do not know, why you feel that Modi is divisive. What he has done to get this dishonor??
        You speak in abstract, which is political parties’ sine qua non.
        You point out any single political party, which has done more than this government.

        • ‘What Modi has done in 18 years, no political party could deliver that.’

          Indeed. I have only a problem with what he delivered.

          No one other party took a growing economy and destroyed it with demonetisation, for winning party funds for the UP election.

          No party gave away Indian land to China and said nothing happened.

          No party has handled a pandemic as ineptly (c.f. how the non-BJP govt. of Kerala handled Covid ).

          No party has spoilt relations with all neighbours including Hindu Nepal.

          What is your attraction then to Modi and his party ? It is Hindu communalism.

  14. today global hunger index is published. India in 94th place. and Sekharji says Modi will address hunger. after six years. true bjp and Modi and Shah combine are in ascendance. but history has a habit of squaring up.

  15. It is disengenuous to suggest Modii-Shah is in politics for power., that logic belongs to people who do family politics. Their vision to remove minority appeasement many sincere efforts to change status quo on mulitple fronts is attractive to voters.

    They are not in politics for power, they are in politics to course correction of India by Nehru and cronies.

    • ‘Their vision to remove minority appeasement …’

      This their main appeal – Hindu communalism.

      What have minorities gained over others ? They do not even have representation proportional to their population ?

      Hindus are incompetent, they do not know how to govern, so you put it on the back of minorities, as if India could not come up because of them. When a majority gives that explanation, it is proof it is incapable.

          • These are the attitude of anti hindus. Hindus are not naive any more to listen your crowd. If you beleive in secualirsm your first priroity is to settle hindus in kashmir valley, Otherwise you are an hypocite at best hindu-hater at worst.

  16. SG is a cunning fellow. He is batting for his political masters while trying to appear neutral. I am old enough to have seen India from its horrible povertarian socialist days to the present day. For just the third time I am seeing a central government that is committed to doing something for the good of India, as opposed to just staying in power and enriching themselves. These are the governments of Rao, Vajpayee and Modi. The first two were not politically strong enough to do much, although Vajpayee accomplished a lot within his limited power. Modi government is the first one to have the right intentions and the political power to do something good for India. But even Modi’s power is severely limited because all other levers of power in the society such as the media, judiciary, academia, NGOs, bureaucracy, Bollywood and the literati are either communist or radical-islamist or anti-national. The nehruvian Marxists have entrenched themselves in all strata of the society and are determined to break up India intentionally or unintentionally. It is too early to tell if Modi can subdue these internal enemies and put India on a path to become a strong and prosperous global power, but he is certainly trying. For now he has my full support.

    • ‘put India on a path to become a strong and prosperous global power, …’

      You are just a delusional Hindu. India cannot become a global power with its caste system, communalism and semi-literacy. There are only three powers : US, China and Russia. EU is a powerful economic bloc of well off nations.

      Kissinger described India as the largest non-important country. Chai wallahs and chowkidars cannot change that. I see India is heading for break up like Yugoslavia. It is too big and unwieldy and Hindus do not have the capacity to manage it. The writing is on the wall.

  17. Come on shekar. You can do better research. CPIM ruled WB for 35 years in a nominal coalition call Left Front. NDA is like the Left Front

  18. What else to expect from this completely brain-sold and brain-washed sonia slave and anti-indian urban naxalite and sadly we have thousands of creeps like him and the earlier these creeps are either deported to porkistaan or bangla desh, future of the country will suffer as it has suffered during the 55 years of anti-indian dynasty and slaves and robots and cheer leaders, cry cry my beloved counntry

  19. I believe by just bringing in a capable person to lead the Finance Ministry and address the government’s economic missteps will solve most of our governance issues with this government. The middle class in 2014 were sold on the Gujrat model and that’s what the government needs to deliver. I don’t understand how can Modi sell the idea of a 5 trillion dollar economy with Nirmala Sitharaman as the face of it. India has such a strong economic talent pool around the world including within India and we end up with her. Just bring someone in confidence, give them freedom to steer the economy and then we’ll know the true power of the Ashwamedha sacrfice.

  20. SG says ‘That’s why interest rates will not be cut further, the Centre will not give a fiscal stimulus because that might increase inflation for the poor. Whatever fiscal sacrifice the government makes, will essentially go towards ensuring the extremely poor don’t go hungry. That compromise, between inflation, welfare and growth, is pure, de-risked politics. Similarly, it does not hesitate to keep taxes at the highest level ever on petroleum products. Because only the middle and the lower-middle classes drive automobiles. Their votes are in its vaults anyway.

    In other words, the BJP thinks it is better to keep Indians poor, and offer some sops to the poor, and that plus religion will keep them in power. They must be feeling giddy with success.

    It is funny how the BJP mocks Congress for keeping Indians poor. But under MMS, Congress at least built a middle class of 300 million. The BJP on the other hand thinks the middle class is in their pocket because they are sold out to their Hindu communalism, and so can afford to ignore them.

    The communalised, selfish middle class Hindus who went with the BJP deserve this and more.

    • Those middle class love to see those SICKULARS give them certificates of communalism,get their asses burnt.Keep crying,Modi will win again in 2024

      • I want Modi to win again. A little bit of money and power goes to the Hindu head – that was the result of MMS creating a middle class of 300 million. When the Hindu has less money, his capacity for mischief decreases.

      • MMS is intolerable for you because he was Sikh. Rao was a cheddi wearing RSS Brahmin, so for you, he is the great man.

        Anyhow, now you have a RSS chai wllah, and see the result.

  21. India is truly returning to Vedic times.

    The correct title would be ‘India is sacrificial horse as Modi-Shah complete their Ashwamedha & redefine Indian politics’.

    It is not the first time the Hindus have sacrificed their horses and the country. I wonder what the purpose of sacrificing the economy was.

  22. SG is perceptive ‘Similarly, it does not hesitate to keep taxes at the highest level ever on petroleum products. Because only the middle and the lower-middle classes drive automobiles. Their votes are in its vaults anyway.’

    The last line is correct. I know middle class Hindus are facing the pinch, they know the economy has sunk, but they react communally against my criticism of their godman. They have been brainwashed thoroughly , and having sold out to their delusions about Modi making Hindu great again, they cannot come out of it. Like the Nazi German fighting for a week after Hitler’s suicide because the Fuhrer had left instructions not to surrender.

    Finally, whatever delusions Hindus have about Modi and BJP’s excellence, the economic reality has to be faced. Just as Germans had to face the consequences of following a nationalist madman.

  23. Again, SG is back to his fence sitting, writing articles with no clear stand.

    Look at these two lines :

    ”But the real power, the ‘agencies’, the national media, the moneybags, are all with the Centre that no longer needs you.”

    ”You can judge Modi-Shah for being what they are, the most ‘political’ government in India’s history, but they aren’t apologetic about it. You have to give it to them for their 24x7x365 obsession with politics and power of the kind never seen in India. ”

    The first line is a correct statement of the situation. But is that good for India ? SG must know it is very bad for India, otherwise he would not point it out. He should take a stand on it.

    The second line is admiring them with the perverse statement : ‘You have to give it to them for their 24x7x365 obsession with politics and power of the kind never seen in India. ‘ This statement should not have been made.

    It is like saying we have to give it to Dubey who killed 12 policemen in UP and escaped. It is like saying in the 1930s we have to give to Hitler that he was gaoled for plotting a putsch but on release, he came back and stormed to power and swept aside all opponents, and the public went with him. But where did it end finally ?

    SG should be taking a stand and saying this is very harmful for India and it will lead to India’s break up. A state run by fascist intimidation of all opposition using all the agencies of state, is not a democracy. It means the only purpose of the BJP is to stay in power by any means. That is the end in itself. The modern concept of govt. is to serve the people, and not the other way round. Even in Vedic times, this level of control was not there.

    SG of course cannot criticise because the ‘agencies’ will come and visit him. It is like the Gestapo visited households where someone expressed criticism of the Fuhrer.

    In this bleak situation, the students of JNU and Jamia showed real courage. Covid interrupted the showdown between people and the govt.. but it can only be a lull.

  24. Thanks to Modi-Shah:
    1. Article 370 got abolished
    2. Temple is being built
    3. Border infrastructure is being constructed
    4. Digitalisation is rapidly happening
    5. Farm laws
    6. Labour reforms
    7. Increased private defence manufacture in India.
    I could go on and on and on.
    People are smart. They know that dynasties don’t make for good governance.
    The BJP is simply fulfilling its poll promises – is that too much to ask?

    • “Article 370 got abolished”, and that gave an excuse to the Chinese to come in Ladakh, and grab Indian land! Cowards like you would never get that land back from the Chinese.

    • Add to your list that the growing economy got trashed, GDP will shrink by -25% (world record) and India has become second in Covid and is heading for first place. Why did you forget the major achievements ?

      Article 370 got abolished, Amit Shah boasted, and China came and took land. Modi spoke like a pussy cat, Shah shut up.

      Temple is being built – Dalits will stand outside, and it will be a Covid hotspot.

      China can puncture your border infrastructure any day.

      Digitalisation is advancing – for fake news, and the IT cell is in control

      Increased private defence manufacture in India – it will be done by failed businessmen with unpayable debts.

      Please do go on and on.

      The majority of Hindus are thick, they get embroiled in communalism and follow godmen.

  25. Shekharji a Woman TEACHER was beheaded in FRANCE.

    There was a submission in COURT that SHRI RAM is a myth . But their were no attacks on anybody.

    Would you like to analyse why journalists don’t discuss violent activisties of a certain community.

    Do the fear for their life.

    • People like you never cease to amaze me! Fella, If there was a submission in COURT that SHRI RAM is a myth, but there were no attacks, THAT’S BECAUSE IT WAS TRUE THAT SHRI RAM WAS A MYTH!

  26. In a democracy, the acquisition and retention – in a federal set up, also the geographical enlargement – of power through the ballot box is a legitimate ambition and project. The other part of the equation is good governance and economic development. All the more in a still largely poor / lower middle class country. The question to be asked, when two terms have already been convincingly secured, two thirds of a decade have passed, is how much the average citizen has benefited from what is otherwise such a successful political journey. An India that is externally and internally secure, at peace with its neighbourhood, globally respected as a vibrant democracy in a diverse land, people are eating and dressing better, their children are studying in good schools and colleges, there is reasonable public healthcare, more people, including women, are at work. A good society, if not an affluent one. At some stage, these questions will become relevant. Perhaps even begin to influence electoral outcomes.

    • These questions are already becoming relevant although in a smaller section of the population and with time will surely influence electoral outcomes but the real question is what then? Didn’t we ask these very questions in 2014 and elected Modi to power on seeing his success on some of these parameters in Gujrat? The fact is that parties come to power with promise to deliver and then are removed from power from failing to deliver and the same cycle continues with the next party. Why? Politics! What we need is a visionary and a statesman as our leader- I see none around in any party.

      • ‘Didn’t we ask these very questions in 2014 and elected Modi to power on seeing his success on some of these parameters in Gujrat? ‘

        That is a wrong assumption. Hindus voted for Modi because he beat up Muslim in Gujarat. Hindu communalism is the sole reason. They continue to support Modi for the same reason, barking constantly about love jihad, corona jihad etc.

  27. One hand you want Democracy.
    Other hand you don’t like Govt doing things or not doing things, so that Govt is not voted out of power.
    Aisa nahi chalega Shekar Bhai.

  28. I think it is about “rajneeti” that part is well said by SG but rather than acknowledging “well played” to BJP, Gupta’s tone is more is of his master’s voice – to paint “well played” as “crafty team”. This can best be avoided.
    We all knew that coalitions were curse to our nation and that’s why India gave clear vote to make someone responsible for the promises. This trend will only accelerate as Indians do not like to be blackmailed by minority coalition partner for issues of national importance. Indians are looking for plain governance and delivery of it. We all know there are divisions and fault lines which feed the journalists like SG and politicians, in time to come those cannot be USP to come to power/ broker.
    If someone was to objectively assess it is teamwork in BJP which is garnering votes and giving it power – someone want us to believe either Modi or Shah are super powerful is a myth, there are checks and balances within their party and within constitution.
    It is just others have no stamina to play the game called Rajneeti as it has changed from Advani times to current times.

  29. Well everybody knows BJP is here to stay. As for congress, their time has come. Maharashtra will be with BJP once something happens to Mr Pawar and also Shivsena can’t beg votes in the name of Hindutva anymore. I see BJP ruling the states for a long time.

  30. Whatever fiscal sacrifice the government makes, will essentially go towards ensuring the extremely poor don’t go hungry.

    is the author objecting that this government is not oriented towards endless growth of capitalistic profits?

  31. the main problem in india is that all parties except bjp and the left are a one man party or a dynastic party with no ideology. modi and shah are a recent phenomena and as of now only temporary. India should be more worried about the dynastic parties including the congress because for all purposes it is a big profitable venture for them. look at how the asset base of the promoters of these parties have grown over the year. in our pseudo arguments over communalism , most journalists across the country seem to be ignoring the corrupt practices of these parties. we tend to forget that corruption is as much a white ant as communalism. it’s time we call out the dangers of these dynastic parties.
    bjp can still hope and will definitely have change of scene in the future. but these parties?

  32. It is good. Politics in India will mean either you are the BJP or you are the opposition – there won’t be any space for a weathercock like Paswan. After Bihar, WB & Orissa the duo will surely move to capture Andhra/Telangana/TN. I suspect Kejriwal will also be sweating buckets in the coming years. Everyone in India will have to choose – media, public, politicians, institutions. Time for fence sitting is gone. Time to go to the mattresses or fade away.

    • media, public, politicians, institutions. have to fade away – because that is your understanding of democracy, right ? Or you think fascism is democracy ?

  33. Modi is unlike any politician seen so far….He thinks differently from other contemporary politicians…. Amit Shah is his ideal foil……It will take someone ubersmart to vanquish the team…. or they themselves become uberconfident and do something stupid….

  34. GOOD IS ALWAYS GOOD !! BAD IS ALWAYS BAD !! YOU CAN’T EARN SOMETHING GOOD BY BAD DOINGS!1 PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE YOU !! YOU HAVE EXPOSED YOURSELVES COMPLETELY!1 THE UGLY SIDE OF YOUR “ASHWAMEDHA” IS NOW O PEN !! A LAUGHING STOCK!!

  35. Just kind reminder Mr. Shekhar Guptha got his Padma Sri & Padma Bhushan Awards under Congress government, you can understand his Pain with present BJP Government.

    • Man for man, journalist for journalist, who would you say was more deserving of the Padma Bhushan – Swapan Dasgupta or Shekhar Gupta …

    • Kind reminder that SG appreciates the current all-powerful duo : ‘You have to give it to them for their 24x7x365 obsession with politics and power of the kind never seen in India. ‘

      SG thinks that this shows their professionalism in their field : politics. He thinks politics is about obtaining and retaining power, not about serving and doing what is good for the country.

      Or he knows all this is bad, but he is afraid of the call from ‘the agencies’.

      • @rasgolla – Modi was hounded by Sonia Congress continuously since 2002. No-one saw it as such then. Yet, Modi captured the nation’s imagination, is fulfilling poll promises and is working on basics of nation building.
        After 60 years – the country didn’t have a bankruptcy code, large numbers didn’t have bank accounts or a gas cylinder in their home.
        On what basis can SG or anyone else talk about an Ashwamedha?
        The poorest are responding to the BJP and Modi-Shah due to the true percolation of benefits to them.
        Some people are still stuck in the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ bit. Modi’s policies don’t ‘favour’ a particular community.

        • What is the bankruptcy code ? All free passage to bankrupt Hindu swindlers to escape abroad ? Or create a new business for them like the Rafale scam ?

          Large numbers didn’t have bank accounts – they may have them, but they are empty. They did not receive their 15 lakhs.

          ‘The poorest are responding to the BJP and Modi-Shah due to the true percolation of benefits to them.’

          They were crushed by demonetisation, and we saw how migrants were treated.

          ‘Some people are still stuck in the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ bit. ‘

          You want to tell me BJP does not play the Hindu communal card, it does not rely on anti-Muslim hate to gather Hindu votes ? Have they outgrown it ? Who are you trying to fool ?

        • Bankruptcy code was an UPA idea, not Moddi’s. Bank accounts was also an UPA idea. The fact is, only those who can qualify should have a bank account. Banks decide whether you qualify for a bank account. Modi arm-twisted the government banks to give bank accounts to those who didn’t even know what a bank account was, and what were their responsibilities as bank account holder were. When it comes to gas cylinders, Modi simply cheated the poor people. He gave them first free cylinder, but not the refill, which would cost Rs. 800! Sp the poor people stopped using the gas cylinder, and went back to burning wood to cook their food! Thus Modi’s gas cylinder scheme wa s a failure! Modi also insulted the poor people by giving them toilets without water connections. How can one use a toilet without water?

          The of Ashwamedha is explained in the column. The poorest are NOT responding to the BJP and Modi-Shah.

          Modi and his bhakts are still stuck in the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ bit. Modi’s policies openly ‘favour’ Hindus.

  36. Historical similes are often deceptive. But if we have to look for historical references, the Indian sub-continent never had in its entire history a centrally ruled homogeneous state. It had always been a conflict between centripetal and centrifugal forces. The Mauryan Empire, the first historically validated Indian Empire, was vast but it comprised of many vassals-the Satvahanas or the Andhras being the most prominent. Indica , a book written by Megasthenes (350 – 290 BCE) mentions a powerful tribe named “Andarae” or the Andhras, whose king maintained an army of 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 elephants. The Satavahanas became an independent state after the disintegration of the Maruyan Empire caused by the demise of Ashoka the Great. Similarly the Gupta Empire became very dominant but only due to its alliance with the Vakataka dynasty in the Western India. The Hashravardhan dynasty in the north had an able rival – the Pulakeshin dynasty in the south. Similarly the Mughal Empire never could conclusively defeat the Rajputs and were constrained to have a political alliance with them. The British Empire consisted of many independent states which were eventually acceded to the Union of India after independence. The story of the rise and fall of the Nehru dynasty is well known. The moral of the story is that political power is always transient. It is not appropriate to kill the horse after the completion of the Ashwamedha Yajna. The BJP has become arrogant after its landslide victory in 2019. But this is no reason to destroy alliances with small parties, as the future is always unpredictable. Come 2024 and one would know the answer.

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