Illustration: Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration: Soham Sen | ThePrint
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Much debate this week has been over whether journalists can risk saying something the Modi government doesn’t like. Media has obviously risen so high in the government’s threat perceptions that, even in the second half of June, a group of nine important ministers (GoM) was holding a flurry of meetings on how to counter this terrible menace.

This is exactly when the Galwan clash (15 June) had created a war-like situation with China, tens of thousands of migrants were walking back home, and India’s coronavirus graph was going up, like a hockey stick.

If you read the ‘leaked’ document that is supposedly the report produced by the GoM here, it would actually hold out no particular threats, except probably the prospect of being colour-coded, and with the “wrong” colours. 

Whether that would imply visits by the CBI, ED or any other such agency, you don’t expect any document to say so. If you were an incorrigible optimist like me, you’d even say, wonderful, we journalists are so important, half the Cabinet is obsessing over us during a pandemic and a near-war. So, thank you very much, count your blessings.

It is always hazardous questioning a government, irrespective of the party in power. Just that, lately, these hazard levels have risen several notches higher. Which, you might again say, is a part of our lives. Plus, there is always the option of taking a bleach-bath and painting yourselves in “friendlier” colours. But, today, a commentator faces double trouble. Damned if you call out the government, but also cursed if you question the opposition. Hello, is this the main responsibility of a free press, attacking not the government but the opposition?

For months now, I have been so fearful of drawing this, the underdog’s fire, that I haven’t written much critical of, or even vaguely negative about, the Congress party or Rahul Gandhi. Even while it has continued to decline, sleep-walk, and lose the plot week after week.

I am now walking into that minefield with this question: We can keep complaining about the undermining of institutions, misuse of the ‘agencies’, sectarian and socially discriminatory laws, use of provisions like sedition as if it was a parking ticket, rail-roading of legislations through Parliament, even a GoM activity like this one on the media. But, would it have been a fraction as easy as it is now, if the Congress had just 100 seats in the Lok Sabha? Or the UPA about 130-150?


Also Read: Fallacy of too much democracy: No economic freedoms can thrive without political freedoms


In a democracy, the primary accountability of respecting institutions, citizens’ liberty and constitutional guarantees lies with the ruling party. But it is also the primary responsibility of the Opposition to fight for these. For this, it is also the responsibility of the Opposition to build its strength and not fritter away what it inherited. That’s how opposition parties of the past, from the Lohiaites to the Jana Sangh-BJP, and the Left, made their mark during the decades of Congress domination.

In fact, even after the 1984 election, when Rajiv Gandhi swept the polls and jokingly (and half-contemptuously) announced that “we have declared the 10+2+3 system for the opposition”, its wounded leaders were back in the ring within months, on their feet and ready for the fight again. That reference, of course, was to the Janata Party, the BJP and the Lok Dal seat tally, 10, 2 and 3, respectively.

By the latter half of 1985, that is within a year of Rajiv Gandhi’s 415 Lok Sabha seats, the opposition was at his throat, on issues ranging from the Shah Bano case to Mandal Commission. Later, when he tried to smother the media with his infamous “anti-defamation bill”, the opposition, especially the BJP, found a worthy and low-cost/high-reward cause in protecting press freedoms.

Check the history of The Indian Express, the foremost victim of the Rajiv government’s vindictiveness. When Congress goons hijacked its employees’ union, called a strike and threatened to shut down the paper, the BJP and the RSS not merely protested, but also sent in hordes of volunteers to help keep the presses running. Today, you have an odd situation where the government plans to colour-code you, and the opposition, especially the Congress, spits on you.

In a manner of speaking, if the ruling party’s sins in this case are of commission, the opposition’s are sins of omission. On all key issues, from unemployment to rising fuel prices, to undermining of the institutions to attacks on minorities and free speech, they are MIA, Missing in Action. In a comparable situation, the BJP, with just two seats in Rajiv Gandhi’s Lok Sabha, would fill up Jantar Mantar every other day with protesters. Today’s opposition writes angry tweets.


Also Read: Habeas Porcus — how our judiciary is murdering the principle of ‘bail, not jail’ routinely


What broke my caution over questioning the opposition was the flurry of pictures from Kerala last week. These had Rahul Gandhi swimming with fishermen, his party loyalists in breathless raptures over his six-pack, his perfect push-ups and, indeed, even with just one arm. All these moments were so viral-worthy. Whether they were vote-worthy, dare we even ask?

Think then, about the de facto chief of our largest opposition party, with still 51 members in Lok Sabha and the control of three major states, heading for election in another four states and one UT, in each one of which his party has a stake. And here he was, showing off his phenomenal fitness to school children. I would never trivialise school children, I know how hard they are to impress. But, for a 50-year-old to dazzle them with his muscle power?

All of this while his party was setting itself on fire. The so-called G-23 was meeting in Jammu raising questions, a senior party-man, former Cabinet member and family loyalist, Anand Sharma, was raising ideological questions about the choice of alliance partners in the coming assembly elections.

Amarinder Singh, his most powerful chief minister, was sliding into that dangerous zone when a government begins to lose leverage on the biggest issue of the day, farmers’ protests in his case, despite enjoying a massive majority. It is a matter of time before either he will lose his political capital or, I say it at the risk of stinging denials from him, check out his options.

Rahul’s party has carried on without a regular president to relieve his ailing mother, since he resigned taking responsibility for the 2019 defeat. There is no election in sight. And the answer to that question, as we heard earlier this week, is a counter-question: How come nobody asks the BJP why they don’t hold party elections? Good question, but at least they have a president.

In the past 25 years, since the Gandhis returned to reclaim the party, the BJP has had nine presidents. Three of them, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, serve in this cabinet. A fourth, M. Venkaiah Naidu, is the Vice-President. Yet another, L.K. Advani, is in the Margdarshak Mandal, as is Murli Manohar Joshi, who headed the BJP in the early 1990s. 

I know the answers to these points. What do these G-23 walas count for? Can they win one seat anywhere? All they want is Rajya Sabha or such sinecures even when out of power. Who else can be party president and keep it united? Who else in the country has Rahul Gandhi’s forthright opposition to the BJP and RSS? All valid points. But then you run into the same cul-de-sac: Why isn’t he then the party president, can a party survive like this, forget rebuilding, how long before more Jyotiraditya Scindias walk away in frustration, how will you stop other parties, from Sharad Pawar’s NCP to Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, from vacuum-cleaning your leftover vote?

Last week, those joyful, viral visuals from the ever-so-cool Kerala brought back to me a line from the 1974 Dilip Kumar-Saira Banu film Sagina. Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri had no idea he was writing a line that would fit so perfectly with the Rahul Gandhi-Congress party situation: “Aag lagi hum ri jhopadiya mein, hum gawain malhar/dekh bhai kitne tamashe ki, zindagani hamaar (my hut is on fire, but I am singing malhar, the happy rain raga/see what fun my life is)”. Sorry, Majrooh sahib, I stole this. But no sorry Rahul Gandhi. This was written for you.


Also Read: Economic ideology is the new binary in Indian politics as Modi swerves Right & Rahul Left


 

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144 Comments Share Your Views

144 COMMENTS

  1. Shekhar and media will never accept that bjp/rss is the only organization who works 24/7 for assisting poor irrespective of whether they are in power or not. Today whether it is cong-i or any regional parties, they are all reduced to private limited company ; filled with corruption ; Interesting that all our so called intellectual support those corrupt party because they are anti-bjp. all those excuse point one under lying fact is that they dont like the bjp supporting majority that is hindu. hope hindu drop caste and raise as one so that other states does not become north eastern states which are christian majority. Others are not wanted there. But interesting nobody speaks about it

  2. There are thousand more cases on attack on majority. But you morons always talk about only attack on minority.

  3. The Stooge of Khangress Mr. Gupta is having pain for being out of the reach of power and the ICECREAM enjoyed with and being a Congress stooge . The master of agenda journalism and pioneer of sycophancy journalism Led from front by Mt Gupta and Pranay Roy , now hang pain because Congress , is not in power and Gupta like agents are feeling high and dry !! of course you must sulk Mr Gupta , because Mr Modi has shown you and your cult of Pranay Roy and Rajdeep your real value in Indian masses and democracy set up . You , Mr Gupta were always a third grade in quality but having the connectivity with top notch power centers in country . Journalism was a dynast business just the way Gandhi’s ruled this country , journalistic dynast like You , Pranay , Rajdeep , Burakha were survivors on fake news of agenda journalism .. You are nothing less than the vultures in the trade called Fake Journalism . You are crying because Modiji has exposed you all for fake and proxy journalism

    • Mr Vijay Bahad: In your putrid rant you bray:

      “.. Mr Modi has shown you and your cult of Pranay Roy and Rajdeep your real value in Indian masses and democracy set up ..”

      Well, Mr Bahad, aren’t you forgetting that only 37% of Indians voted for the pogromwala in 2019? Of course India’s first-past-the-post electoral system – like the rotten American electoral college – often ensures that the winner is not always the man who gets the most votes.

      But that observation apart, one notes that like the true RSS shaka raised, blinkered, blind, Modi bhakth that you are, you seem to regard every criticism of the pogromwala as being a manifestation of fake news. And you abuse journalists who call the pogromwala’s bluff. Should journalsist only sing praises to the Delhi University graduate Mr Bahad? And they become traitors to be hanged and quartered if they don’t? Incredible India !

      You go on to call Mr Gupta’s journalism “third grade in quality”. But yet you seem to be reading and commenting on The Print ! Why don’t you simply move to the RSS Organiser or Swarajyamag where you can read journalism that is “first grade quality”?

      Or better still, why not join the BJP IT Cell and deploy your skills in abusing and reach millions through Whatsapp? Along the way you could perhaps start a few rumours and organise a few lynchings of Muslims as well to become a Babu Bajrangi v2.0? Maybe, like Union Minister Jayant Sinha did, you might even get garlanded for having lynched some innocent Muslims..

      Modi cult members like you who get demonetised and taken for a ride remind me of a quote from Mark Twain:

      “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”

      • As to the mystery of why lumpen elements who follow the RSS and Bajrang Dal, do not stick with The Organiser, and are always posting personal attacks (with no other content) in The Print is because they themselves know that their newspapers and spokesmen do not have any credibility !

        The best Intellectuals are on the left and the liberal side, so the right has an inferiority complex and rages against them. Their rage will not be content with discussion, it will turn into violence. That is what we see in India – but also in Trump. Goebbels had famously said ‘we do not need Jewish intellectualism’.

        You can see Modi has an inferiority complex about his lack of education (Mani Shankar’s taunt about ‘unpad’ got him). So he sent the sycophants surrounding him, two union ministers, to show a fake DU degree to the press !

        There have been cases where people were not educated (like Kamraj) but were still effective and progressive, but that is an exception. Others have come from poor backgrounds like APJ Abdul Kalam but he became learned and never used the poverty of his background to gain support (like Modi does). Such people do not have an inferiority complex.

        When you achieve something and you know you do not deserve it by merit, (as you have achieved it by some form of criminality), you will have an inferiority complex, and it will show in some form as a rage to cover it up.

  4. You (Sekhar Gupta) only value ability to get votes and be in power – either with real majority or bought out by hook or crook majority. You are so shallow that you don’t bother about the ethics and ideology behind it. The day you begin to consider the value of ethics and ideology in getting votes, you will understand Rahul Gandhi.

    • Mr Nanjappa: You bray:

      “.. You (Sekhar Gupta) only value ability to get votes and be in power – either with real majority or bought out by hook or crook majority. You are so shallow that you don’t bother about the ethics and ideology ..”

      As an expert in voting ethics and ideology, could you please clarify the following:

      – Does the BJP rigging of elections by engineering defections of its opponents constitutes a violation of your ethics ideology?

      – Do you think that the defectors who cross over to the BJP do so for free?

      – Does the BJP transfer its “defection grant” to the bank accounts of the defectors in India? Switzerland ? Cayman Islands? After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch right?

      – In India, when people invest money and fight elections, they expect a very healthy Return on Investment (ROI). Indian politicians, regardless of the party they belong to, are self-serving – they are not there to serve the people. Is the BJP any different Mr Nanjappa? Very ethical ? The BJP politician does not want an ROI on his investments in politics? Perhaps you could ask your Godse worshipping BJP friend Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.

      RaGa’s Congress is by no stretch of the imagination an ethical political party. But the BJP is no different Mr Nanjappa. Both are two sides of the same debased coin. As Arun Shourie, a former BJP politician said:

      Congress + Cow = BJP.

      • Dear Kili who is too scared to even post his real name yet not averse to ranting out here.. Please show me one reasonable nay credible alternative to the BJP that exists today. One party that is above everyone else which can be showcased. Zero. None. Zilch.
        Do you really expect me to vote for the dimpled Pappu (which seems to be his only attribute) or the hapless Akhilesh or Mayawati? Or the worse Lalu or Momtaz Begum? Or would you prefer the farmer clan of Sharad Pawar and Supriya? What about the bloodthirsty cabals of the Left? Or the conniving Kejruddin?
        I am sorry I tried my best to seek an alternative without success
        Maybe you can provide an alternative?

  5. If Pakistan talks about Modi’s beard, it is a joke here but if Print talks about Biceps of Rahul, it is empty mind of the journalist in India having nothing else to write for the day. What they dish out is heartfelt anger, for whatever reasons, that oozes out of these journalists here. The press lesson 101 is supposed to teach them to use the mind but not the heart. But reality is those lessons are for kids. . Actually, the vehemence and only disgust are reflected in the output of these adult journalist. What a shame

  6. Pappu is Pappu or Shekhar Gupta (SG) is Pappu.

    1. SG is advocating 1980s and 1990s kind of politics but elctorate is simply not in mood of it. Rahul Gandhi was doing that from 2015, 2016 till he resigned as President of Congress. Lack of support on farmer issue is that Indian electorate is yearning for politics which is not 1980s or 1990s.
    2. Secondly there was underlying analysis by funded anti India forces and someone mentioned in comments that RSS has taken over and economic ruin will stop that. This has not worked in past a la Indira Gandhi and has not worked against Modi till now. But person making that suggestion would come across as retarded, hate monger at worst (wont use anti national..lol). So Rahul would like country to tank so he can claim throne …saying this to electorate in 2021..good luck sir. When only once government got reelected (UPA) when economy did well. So he is not with sentiment nor with data or analysis.

  7. Dear Author,
    You are also a alert citizen of India. Do your part of asking more questions to ruling party and govt. This will definitely help India.
    Good Luck,
    Suresh

  8. Once again, Mr. Shekhar Gupta, you are firing at the wrong target. You evidently know there is something wrong with the Modi govt. and I daresay you even know what is wrong. But you are not prepared to say it.

    There is no stopping the Modi govt., not because RaGa is flaunting his muscles and Congress is sinking, but because the RSS has so much money from industrialists and capability to raise violent mobs that no opposition party nor media can stop them. RaGa at least had the guts to say this. Why don’t the media people like you have the guts to say the same ? If you do not have the guts to say it (and I understand the intimidation you will face), at least stop building false narratives praising Modi’s achievements before saying there is a problem with the economy, and stop pinning the blame on the opposition when they face the same problem as you do (the money power of the corporates and the threat of mob violence unleashed on you).

    You periodically write about the economy going into a tailspin, but why don’t you say it is because of the RSS-BJP’s policies ? Why do you start your articles saying Modi is awesome, but….Start your article first with what comes after your ‘but’ !

    At least RaGa has the courage to say what has gone wrong !

    Unless Indians understand what the RSS stands for and that it is running a state within a state, India will go the same way as Nazi Germany (the RSS’s model is that of the Nazis, with Manu’s caste system added to it). India will crumble. Whether India can re-arise like the new democratic Germany needs to be seen. That is an assumption RaGa made. It might crumble like Yugoslavia into several nations and not re-arise.

    • Mr Tog: As expected, another insightful comment from you.

      You are right when you point out:

      “.. RSS has so much money from industrialists and capability to raise violent mobs ..”

      But one needs to add another source of funding to the BJP & RSS coffers – the upper caste Hindu NRI. Especially North Indian NRIs who volunteer their time, freely fund the RSS & BJP politicians, lobby the US government to support the pogromwala etc. etc. Tapping into the wealth of rich NRIs in the US, UK, Canada, Australia etc. and yoking them to the Hindutva project is arguably one of the greatest coups of the BJP.

      But there is an interesting twist to the NRI story. The upper caste, North Indian NRI might turn up at a Howdy Modi type freakshow and get his orgasms by watching his beloved Gujarati Messiah hobnobbing with a India-hating, racist, misogynistic thug called Donald Trump. But few NRIs wish to go back to India – they simply don’t bite on the “achche din” bait that the pogromwala claims is in India’s horoscope. For sure, the NRI, particularly the West based NRI might send remittances to India, or donations to temples and politicians. But they have watched enough Bollywood to realise that the “achche din” story being peddled by the pogromwala is just what it is: a feel good Bollywood story not grounded in reality !

      Hope to read more of your well-crafted,and fact-basedcomments Mr Tog !

  9. Fact is that fake Gandhi’s are not worth it.
    They are no good corrupt traitorous leeches for india.
    They have to be thrashed and eliminated.

  10. If Tough opposition is the need of hour , then a dirty and nasty politics should be there , if a age old party has to bounce back then it has to sacrifice its life , now who will do this suicidal act , they have to do a brainstorming discussion , and decide the outcome of this election

  11. Dear Shekhar, let me assure you, the ‘intolerance’ that you subtly tried to highlight exists only in your biased mind. Its not real! Indians dont feel any less democratic, free, tolerant than they did for 50 years under Your rule (You, NDTV, leftist communists, Jholawallahs etc) i.e congress dynasty rule. We are the same people and same nation, only difference is that You, Ravish Kumar. Prannoy Roy, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt…..all of you are NO ONE now. YOU are out of power. YOU have been relegated to putting stupid videos on You Tube, that no one watches! YOU have lost that ‘Opinion Maker’ power. Its your frustration at being NOBODY, that You have taken out on poor Gandhi Dynast. Poor guys is limited by his mental faculties, let him be. If you have conviction, come out openly against the government and criticize, its good for democracy & leads to improvements, dont hide behind poor Rahul Baba. But a caveat, please ensure that Your ‘criticism’ is not like ‘gen VK Singh marching towards Delhi to topple Maunmohan’.

    • Howard Roark: You rant:

      “.. Poor guys is limited by his mental faculties, let him be ..”

      Whilst I will not opine about RaGa’s intellectual capacity or for that matter the intellectual capacity of people like you who surely are admirers of the likes of BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Babu Bajrangi, Ayothollah Adithyanath and so on, I must nonetheless point out one thing:

      Rahul Gandhi is not a graduate of Delhi University !

  12. Rahul & his Congress may well sing:

    “Hum badnasseb rajniti ki ruswayi ban gaye.
    Khud he lagaa ke aag,, tamaashaayee ban gaye.
    Sab kuch luta ke hosh mein aaye toh kya kiya”.
    (with apologies to Prem Dhawan. Talat in ‘Ek Saal’.)
    Not that they have even now “hosh mein aaye hain”.

  13. It is indeed a difficult task for media to present multiple perspectives on any issue with an objective of  enabling its readership to establish their own viewpoints. Shekhar has done a very good job here without taking any sides.

    The real issue is that most would like to see and hear what pleases them most or supports their line of thinking and that’s clearly reflected in comments here. Same article has elicited quite similar responses from both category of supporters here as in both see it from their own lenses and consider it as an affront on them. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t do!!

    Sum and substance is that for a healthy and vibrant democracy, there is a clear need for respectable, thinking, credible yet aggressive opposition. That’s what provides necessary checks and balances as we move on as a nation. The question we should ask is- Do we really have one?

    If not, then why blame Shekhar Gupta or the government of the day for that matter!!?? Both are actually shouting from the rooftop to have one or put one together!

    • Loved the thrust of your comment Mr Dipy’s.

      You suggest – and rightly so – that there is perhaps no credible opposition in India today. You go on to say that neither Shekar Gupta nor the present government can be blamed for that. It is here that I cannot fully agree with you – the government of the day cannot be blamed for a lack of opposition.

      You know as well as I do that the most defining characteristic of almost all Indian politicians is the utter lack of any ideology, convictions and lines he will not cross. Indeed, India is the country of “Aaya Ram and Gaya Ram”, Gaya Ram being the Haryana politician who changed parties 3 times in 24 hours ! The Indian politician is in the business of politics for making a quick buck – not public service. The politician invests large sums of his money and money extorted from his constituents to fight elections. He intends to recoup his investment manyfold whilst he is in office.

      It is against this defining DNA of the Indian politician you need to see the effectiveness of defections as a way of defeating and diluting democracy. Whilst all parties in India engage in it, the BJP is clearly the grandmaster of the game. Witness the many defections being engineered in states where the BJP faces tough opposition and you will see proof of my point.

      Thus, when the ruling party itself is in the business of buying opposition politicians through its superior financial strength, what chance do you have for having a credible opposition ?

  14. Shekhar ji all very well said but when you blame & paint the present dispensation with same brush you loose the point you want to convey. Saying that BJP had 9 presidents but without elections is true, but when we say the democracies run on consensus, then how having a president with consensus is wrong. Likewise I can find counter argument on your points but that is not my objective. Just a request that be truthful in your analyses. I have not seen a single journalist on Insian who can write naturally.

  15. It is a bit of a stretch to question the freedom of speech afforded in our country – not now but since Independence. It has always been free as free can be. There is, as there has always been, plenty of questions asked of the Governments in the media. For this you only have to look at the comment sections of the Youtube channel and digital platform of The Print. That is just one of the hundreds of such media platforms. The plethora of protest and bandhs, which continue unabated even after the honorable Supreme Court has regulated these in various judgements, at the drop of the hat, are other examples of questioning the Government. So, it seems a bit preposterous to say that in India the Governments can’t be questioned. India has become so important that its internal matters are now discussed in foreign media and Governments as well! Yes, there has also been the Government sometimes questioning the media. These “questions” have been specific and on matters out of the ordinary. It is naïve to assume that in a democracy, while the Media can question (even a cabinet meeting) the Government can’t occasionally question the media. Democracy does not work one way.

    Tail piece: Let us not forget that the responsibly to run the Nation is with the Government and not the media. It is the ultimate responsibility.

    • ‘India has become so important that its internal matters are now discussed in foreign media and Governments as well!’

      The Indian internal matters that are discussed in the foreign media since 2016 are exclusively negative ! Just look at WP, NYT, WSJ, The Guardian, The Independent, The Economist, Time, BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera.

      The last time India had a positive image was under MMS, around 2005-2014. The Economist said India was the next Asian Tiger.

      India is now increasingly seen as a liability due to Modi. ‘Hindu nationalism’ is seen as reactionary. Indeed, in developed countries now, fanatical nationalism is seen as backward and dangerous. They have seen its effect in Nazi Germany. The west has doubts about India now due to what appears in the aforementioned journals : how can they prop up India as a democratic alternative to China, when it has a non-performing economy and wants to be like Myanamar ? They are worried if India implodes, there will be a flood of refugees.

      Indeed the responsibly to run the Nation is with the Government and not the media. That is what is missing ! Responsibility to run the nation does not mean demonetisation to win an election; careless planning for Covid (except for Kerala); roll out a CAA-NRC to put minorities in concentration camps; organise a communal riot in Delhi to intimidate minorities; take away the livelihood of farmers to build the wealth of the miniscule few; use soldiers’ deaths to win elections; beat up university students in a library; go to various states where people are living peacefully and create communal tensions to win an election; surrender Indian land to China and make China the no. 1 trade partner.

      The world media questions these. A few in the Indian media question these. The BJP supporters are in angry denial. If things were going so well as you want to believe, Modi would not organise a communal riot, and attack journalists, intellectuals and students who disbelieve his claims. His performance would be enough.

      • Thanks for your comments and your perspective.

        A person who believes everything he hears (media & experts) indicates an empty mind, it s said. Image etc. is only a perception. The perception of India as a progressive Nation has only increased these past years. We get a mixed projection in the media as we all tend to read (see) what we like or perceive. I have been traveling the world even in these pandemic times and my interaction with people of various Nations only confirms that We, Indians, are on the right track and we are being noticed for the right reasons. It often takes more courage to change one’s views than to keep it. The truth lies out in the field and not always in the media reports and expert opinions.

        Tail piece: A Nation is ruled by Governments and not by the media or the experts. Vision (media & experts) without execution is just hallucination. Nothing will work unless it is done. Governments do commit mistakes. Mistakes can be committed only by those who do (work).

        A point to ponder: Who is “minority”. Are those who do not support an elected Government “minority”. Are those belonging to particular religion or caste “minority”? Are the rich a minority with the poor in the majority?
        Disclaimer: I have not been retained by any individual or organization to write this piece. The views are personal. Also, I pray only to MY God which I have been doing for more than 60 years.

        Best regards

        • Col KL Viswanahan: You claim:

          “.. The perception of India as a progressive Nation has only increased these past years. ..”

          Now, that is pure codswallop Sir !

          If there is one thing that India is losing at a fast clip during the BJP dispensation under Modi, it is “soft power”. India’s enormous reservoir of soft power reservoir, accumulated over many years since Independence has been completed squandered by the pogromwala. The recent Freedom House Report being one example of how the world outside increasingly views India as a flailing, flawed democracy on the fast track to becoming a fascist state.
          But let me first explain the notion of “soft power”. After all, you are a man who plies the trade of traditional military hard power and you might not be familiar with the tools of my trade – I work in a specialised area of diplomacy.

          Political Scientist Joseph Nye (1937-), one of the foremost authorities on soft power defines soft power as:

          “The ability to shape the preferences of other countries through co-option rather than coercion. A country may obtain the outcomes it wants because other countries, admiring its values, emulating its example etc. want to follow it”

          In the Nye framework, the soft power of a country rests on 3 resources:

          – Culture
          – Political values
          – Foreign policies, especially when they are seen as having moral authority

          Thus, small countries like Norway, Sweden, Switzerland have a lot more soft power than firepower and get many of the outcomes they desire without firing a single shot. Likewise, when compared to say China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma etc. India’s soft power places them far above this lot.

          Indian cultural products like yoga, cuisine, dance, its many historical sites like the Taj, various temples, festivals etc. are admired all over the world.

          Indian political values such as secularism, religious freedoms, democracy, press freedoms, absence of military coups are the envy of many countries.

          India’s foreign policy initiatives, particularly in peacekeeping roles for the UN; sheltering of the millions who fled nasty regimes such as the Tibetans who fled Chinese invasions, or the E.Pakistanis who fled the marauding armies of W. Pakistan; its adherence to the Geneva Conventions etc. have been perceived as the moves of a mature, tolerant, pluralistic and liberal democracy.

          This enormous reservoir of soft power is being squandered by the BJP and its exclusionary Hindutva ideology modelled as it is on European fascism. The CAA & NRC, despite BJP protestations, are perilously similar to the approach the Nazis took in the 1930s. As an NRI, I face questions about these all the time. Indeed, the perception of India as an intolerant, Hindu mirror image of Pakistan is the one that is coming across. And certainly so in my field of work.

          But then, as far as the BJP & the bhakth are concerned, Muslim bashing is more important than long term benefits for India. And I don’t expect the likes of Modi, Adityanath and Amit Shah to comprehend the nuances of soft power.

          But soft power matters. Simply because soft power is associated with India and the values it has come to represent over the millenia. But the fascist ideologies now etching away at the democratic and tolerant values that India was respected for can quickly destroy that.

          Thus, when bhakths turn up at restaurants in France and yell at the Sri Lankan Tamil owner for not speaking in Hindi and serving beef, something has seriously gone wrong. Likewise, at the Frankfurt Indian Foodfest in 2019, the police had to be called as North Indian bhakths clashed with Keralites over the serving of beef dishes. German Police had to persuade the Hindutva crowd that it was legal to eat beef in Germany and illegal to attack people who ate beef!

          Full disclosure: I work in the intersection of International Relations, Diplomacy, Human Rights & Technology and live in Europe. And although I am the national of another country, I do try to give back something to the India I left behind.

          • ‘Thus, when bhakths turn up at restaurants in France and yell at the Sri Lankan Tamil owner for not speaking in Hindi and serving beef, something has seriously gone wrong. Likewise, at the Frankfurt Indian Foodfest in 2019, the police had to be called as North Indian bhakths clashed with Keralites over the serving of beef dishes. German Police had to persuade the Hindutva crowd that it was legal to eat beef in Germany and illegal to attack people who ate beef!’

            I did not know about the Sri Lankan restaurant incident in France. You must have seen the reports yesterday in the foreign press (The Independent) of the Modi supporter who was abusing Punjabis on an Air France flight, forcing an emergency landing. From his perspective, he thought he was creating the perception of a rising Hindu India. He shouted Hindu jaag rahein hain (Hindus are awakening).

            The RSS brainwashing has spread abroad, and people lose their bearings and sense of reality. I read that in places like UK, Hindu youths are being sent to VHP run camps to learn about ‘Hindu culture’. The RSS’s method is to create a massive inferiority complex, and from that they induce a rage about Hindus having been suppressed, and at the same time they tell them, Hindus have to awaken and reclaim their position as the vishwa guru. This is what leads to this behaviour – it is now entrenched in India , and shockingly it is spreading abroad. People outside know about what is happening in India.

            I keep getting their hate videos, I can see how they are getting demented.

        • Thank you for your reply. I am not sure I understand you.

          Your message is that media and experts are misleading and you have heard only positive perception of India by travelling around.

          You say ‘The perception of India as a progressive Nation has only increased these past years’. Is that in MMS’s period ? I remember at that period, Fareed Zakaria, Thomas Friedmann all writing with great hope about India.

          But surely not in the Modi years ? I have only read a spate of ugly news : it started with the lynching of Aqlaq and continued with many cow lynchings; rape of Dalit girls by BJP MPs; police cremating them in the middle of the night without parents; the rape of a 8 year old Kashmiri girl and BJP MLAs marching in support of the rapists; beating up students in JNU; police assaulting students in a library; CAA-NRC and concentration camps; Delhi riots where BBC showed policemen throwing stones; BJP MPs saying urging shooting Shaheen Bagh women; attacking Muslims over Covid, causing expulsion of Indians from UAE for hate tweets; response to Rihanna and Greta also gave bad publicity. This behaviour of BJP supporters has spread outside. Recently BJP supporters have beaten up Sikhs in Australia, and Australian senators are demanding action against VHP. A BJP supporter chanting Modi and Hindu jaag rajein hain (Hindus are awakening) wanted to assault Sikhs on an Air France flight from Paris to Delhi, forcing an emergency landing.

          Does the above shed a progressive image of India ? All these incidents occurred during the BJP rule. Would you not agree ? Then do you not feel this is creating an ugly image of India ? Or is this being noticed for the right reasons ?

          Do you think what WP, NYT, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian and Independent, BBC, CNN and Jazeera have no impact whatsoever on governments abroad ? What will they base their perception on ?

          As for the rest of your post, I am not sure why you ask ‘Who is a minority ?’ The article says Modi govt. cannot be stopped – according to Shekhar Gupta, due to Rahul flexing his muscles. I replied that India’s rot is due to the RSS, not due to Rahul. You should see Rahul’s interview with Cornell, where he explains it. He admits he nor Congress can change RSS, he says the change will come when impoverished and disenfranchised people come out on the streets – which is starting to happen. That sets the perception of India.

          Where does the minority come into this ? The issue is India descending into Nazi ethno nationalism due to the RSS – which the above foreign newspapers have brought out, but which is taboo to discuss in the Indian media due to the violence the RSS will create (Rahul has surprisingly stated it).

          Also, I don’t understand your disclaimer. I never said or hinted you are working for an organisation. And also I am puzzled about your statement about praying to your God – I made no reference to God about the plight of the country.

          I don’t understand you but anyway Best regards to you !

          • Thanks again for your indulgence. Your perspective well taken. A bit of sermonizing, I suppose is not out of place. – regarding experts and the media

            José Mourinho (A soccer coach in Europe), soccer lovers would know – even if you are not a soccer lover, tat is not the centre of the narrative here – was a roaring success coaching the EPL team Chelsea. He was an abject failure coaching Manchester United, later. Now he coaches Tottenham Hotspur with moderate success.

            All experts, including economic pundits, are like Jose Mourinho. There is more to execution than a profound knowledge of the subject. Just consider, if we had all those “experts” calling everything right why do we ever have economic downturns the world over? Why do we have recession? Most experts work in silos, confined within their acquired knowledge and more importantly with preconceived ideas which have been etched in their psyche in the process of acquiring the knowledge. In reality what plays out on the field is a result of many known and unknown variables.

            Another danger posed by these experts is that they have followers. It is very difficult for the experts to change their views under any circumstance; so are the views of their followers. So do all the publications you mention and many others too – lean one way or the other. You see, those who have knowledge don’t predict and those who predict do not have knowledge.

            So are media and experts bad? Not at all. They do have a wealth, pun intended, of knowledge – Read, listen, assimilate, look around and arrive at your view. Just because something is in the media does not make it correct.

            Tail piece: It often takes more courage to change one’s opinion than to keep it.

            Disclaimer: I am no expert. My disclaimers are not directed at Mr. Tog or any one in particular. I take it that our discussion is being read by many others too. (at least that is my hope)

            Wish you the very best, Regards

    • Colonel KL Viswanahan: You pontificate:

      “.. It is naïve to assume that in a democracy, while the Media can question (even a cabinet meeting) the Government can’t occasionally question the media .. “

      Alas Colonel saab, we are not dealing with a situation where the government is “occasionally questioning the media” but one wherein the very lives of journalists are at stake. Journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Ravish Kumar, Rana Ayub etc. are indeed threatened, if not directly by the BJP government but by the lumpen proxies that march to the BJP’s tune. Journalist Gauri Lankesh was murdered in cold blood by men affiliated with Sanathan Sanstha a violent cult that is a part of the wider Sangh Parivar family. Indeed, the bulk of India’s press has turned into meek mouthpieces of Modi. Indeed, even comedians face the wrath of the BJP.

      You need not take my word for it Colonel saab. Reporters sans Frontières (Reporters without borders) puts India at rank 142 out of the 180 countries surveyed. Indeed, RSF writes:

      “ .. Modi tightens his grip on the media

      With no murders of journalists in India in 2019, as against six in 2018, the security situation for the country’s media might seem, on the face of it, to have improved. However, there have been constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials. Ever since the general elections in the spring of 2019, won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line has increased.

      Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate. The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women. Criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment .. “

      Ref: bit.ly/3bA0Waz

      Narendra Modi’s attitudes to free speech reminds me of Idi Amin, the Ugandan strongman who once said:

      “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech”.

      I find it hard to fathom that erudite men like you refuse to read the writing on the wall when it comes to press freedoms in India.

      • Journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Ravish Kumar, Rana Ayub etc. are indeed threatened,

        But not enough to quit either journalism or move to Pakistan. India would be better off without albatross, like such people, around it’s neck.

  16. The problem is the ideology of Congress is now a cross between that of CPI /CPM and ISF.
    Which is all rhetoric no clear vision or policy.
    And the common person has never met a Congress worker on the ground who can offer any help.
    And I talk of Bangalore, where the Cong exists.
    During pandemic BJP Mla and his workers were distributing ration to bpl of all religions and the congressi was no where except putting stupid negative tweets .
    And in UP Yogiji is sending vaccines to poor far off village s .
    And Priyanka ji after creating a din in UP and calling herself a UP girl is contesting election from Tamil Nadu.
    And Tamil s will vote for a fair skinned hindi speaking outsider and in the next breath say ” hindi imposition”.
    Because Tamil doesn’t matter , whiteness and Robert matter . The Hindi imposition is just to fool the gullible tamil h…. It is so funny

  17. For all his flaws, Rahul Gandhi is more photogenic than Pawar, Mamata or Priyanka. He looks like a leader, even if people like Ramchandra Guha does not like him. All he needs is wait for another ten years, even then he is not barely sixty. He should not sacrifice himself for assorted secus, he should see the example of Ajit Singh & hang on on his party leadership.

  18. When SS chief Bal Thakare was asked his views/opinion
    about RSS in 1968 at Pune in Public meeting.He replied
    they are physically strong but mentally wrong.By seeing
    Rahul Gandhi’s swimming/pushups/dancing .It applies
    to Rahul Gandhi now.

  19. SS chief Bal Thakare in Pune public meeting 1968 was asked his views/opinion about RSS. He replied they are physically strong but mentally wrong . By seeing Rahul Gandhi’s swimming, pushups & dance . Now this applies to Rahul Gandhi.

  20. shekarji
    bulk of the electorate looks at the overall picture while voting. let us look at modi govt.’s achievments first.
    they have handled covid situation fairly well despite initial bungling of which all countries are gulty of without exception. they have handled the situation with china in matured manner which ashley tellis also acknowledged. the economy is picking up after covid. the gst collections are at all time high. finance minister at last has presented a path breaking budget. the govt. is now serious about putting the country in a growth path. the farm laws are not being withdrawn. social delivery system to the poor is strengthened considerably. the defence is being strenthened after negligence by congress govt.one of the most important thing the corruption under this regime is very very negligible. that is a very great achievement. despite provocations from both the sides, there has been no communal riots. the foreign affairs are decently handled.
    now let us come to two contraversial decisions. the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A. you must realize that majority of the indians welcome this. if you really believe in democracy, majority should also matter not just minority. we all believe this is the only way to solve the kashmir problem once for all – its total integration with india.
    the second decision caa. you yourself said that caa by itself is harmless. again majority after seeing atrocities on hindhus in pakistan, this is a welcome step and one of the unfinished matters of partion. to say that we should apply the same standards to muslims residing outside india is not correct. they are not citizens of india. so there is no discrimination. muslims have 15 countries to migrate. hindhus have none except nepal. many of us do not want the demography of india to be changed over long run.
    now let us come to nrc. the only objection to nrc is that it may be misused in the future. it is like any fear – which always has its presence only in the future. we will cross the river when it comes. i am convinced that majority of the indians will not want poor muslims to be defranchised.
    yes some of the supporters of govt. do tend to go overboard on some matters – most of the really minor matter like ultra nationalism etc. ofcourse power is centred around a few individuals which is not correct.
    the govt. does look slightly authoritarian, which most govt. tend to be. as regards undermining of institution and human rights, let us be very clear that it is the duty of the judiciary to ensure the same. though judiciary is acting errantly of late i am sure it is not sold.
    ultimaltely no govt. like human being is ever close to perfection including this one.
    but what we see is frivolous discussions like how many ministers had how many discussions etc. in june last year after covid migration and china episode the negative narrative was overdone by many in the press – especially those oppossed to the govt. it is natural for the govt. to be in damage control mode. may be 9 ministers was too much. may be 7 meetings was too much. may be journalists were coded which most govt. do. may be they went overboar d.but there was no witch hunt – as yet. if so then is it such a big deal for the electorate?
    another criticism because modi talked about manmohan singh and pakistan in gujarat elections, we are holding relationship with pakistan to ransom for domestic politics – as if pakistan is a saint and are not doing anything negative at all!!!! everybody knows politicians speak in hyperbole during elections and nobody believes them. even modiji or for matter manmohan singh and govt and the whole electorate would not take modi’s speech seriously – ofcourse except shekar gupta and ruhi tewari.
    sir, you are well aware that the relationship with pakistan is very complicated for anybody to decipher. why then such frivolous article sir? just to criticise the govt. for the sake of criticism.
    sir. can you with justication based on performance come with an alternative to modi as on date? please don’t say chidambaram. you own conscience will then laugh at you.

  21. When S S Bal Thakare was asked in Pune 1968 ,his
    opinion about RSS. He replied they are physically strong
    but mentally wrong.Now it applies to Rahul Gandhi.

  22. I don’t understand these guys crying hoarse about government muzzling press when keep writing whatever they want to write., For 15 years all you had to say was negative things about government, still hindus don’t seem to care for your biased, flawed and jaundiced opinion, Frustration is setting in , the bottom line is you are the one who is biased and people don’t see BJP the same way you see it, You guys need to examine yourself where the press is going wrong.

  23. Rahul Gandhi thinks and acts like a politician from 70s, where the feudal mindset was at it’s peak, Just because you dance, dine and swim , we are supposed to vote for you?, Indian voter has moved on you need to show that you can perform in governance not in sham activities.

  24. Shekharji can I be more specific.

    Amrinderji and RSS are ensuring that aCUSE aBUSE pARTY who is hell bent on providing khalistanis a foothold in punjab doesn’t win elections in Punjab.

    As far as congrass is concerned they used to win elections by dividing HINDUS and consolidating votes of proselytizering communities.

    With HINDU consolidation based on belief in scientific education and prosperity and opposition to rampant RIOTING and PROSELYTIZING. Congrass who has now been identified as a anti HINDU party with no future in INDIA.

    • Wow! Calling names shows your maturity level and blind, misguided devotion to one person (not even the party). No wonder your knuckleheads are called blind bhakta. Bloody hypocrites.

    • We are seeing not intelligent and responsible journalism. All are in the pay packets of various parties. Parading as journalists has become a fashion. Public has lost its respect For the 4th estate.

  25. Shekhar Gupta is as usual in two camps : he is always trying to create an aura about Modi’s awesome power and support, while trivialising India’s predicament and putting the blame on RaGa.

    Recently, I saw a webinar were RaGa was invited by Cornell University’s economist Kaushik Basu and his students. A number of questions were asked about the situation in India. I was astonished by the clear minded analysis given by RaGa. While I ignore bhakths calling him pappu in desperation, I was amazed he had the clarity of mind – and the courage to say what he did.

    RaGa explained the situation is much worse than in the Emergency (which he condemned). He said that the RSS now has captured all the institutions (all VCs of universities; judiciary; police; media; embassies….) and their appointees will be there for years in the bureaucracy to poison it. The BJP is now loaded with money which none of the opposition has. He said before the RSS was funded by banias and shop keepers. Now it is funded by big industrialists, like Adani and Ambani. For geeting the industrialists finance, the RSS-BJP will capture the wealth of the public and concentrate it in the hands of these few. They are building an oligarchy.

    RaGa admitted that neither Congress nor any opposition party could stop the RSS-BJP. Neither can intellectuals . Basu and the audience were shocked by this. That should answer the question Shekhar Gupta poses : whether Madhav Rao Scindia is part of Congress, or someone other than Rahul heads Congress, it is not going to stop RSS-BJP. RaGa himself said it. The BJP-RSS has money power, the media, communalism, and mob power in their hands. The mob can be turned against Muslims and Sikhs, but also against media or Hindu liberals.

    However, RaGa said that it is not the end of the road of India. He said that the RSS-BJP’s plan will get unstuck when the majority of people are impoverished. Then the public will come out on the street, even without Congress or opposition. Earlier, the public accepted demonetisation was done for their benefit, and they were bought over with the feeling that Modi is doing everything for the Hindus. But when they see only Ambani and Adani, and those with connections to RSS-BJP are prospering, they will come out on the streets. Then no force can stop a mass protest. We have seen a foretaste of that – the all India crowds that came out for the CAA-NRC protests. That was ended partly due to Covid and because Muslims were involved, the BJP could organise a riot and get Hindu support. However, the farmer’s protest is another mass one. The govt. cannot organise a communal riot as easily as Muslims are not leading it, and they cannot fire on the farmers. One of the farmers leaders (Hindu from Maharashtra) dared the govt. to fire on them; he said they would then march to the RSS HQ in Nagpur.

    Thus RaGa accepts Congress and opposition cannot change the situation, he sees the change will come when there are mass protests due to impoverishment of Indians, and in such large numbers that the govt. cannot use police and firepower. That is building up, it is a natural process with a natural rate and neither he nor Congress is in control of it. Logically, he is right. The BJP crashed the economy with demonetisation, it has never recovered, many lost their jobs, small businesses closed, and GST and Covid put the nails on the coffin. The defence expenditure has increased, oil price is high, and the farm protests will pull down the economy further. There is no FDI and more youth is joining the labour force. In the meantime, Ambani and Adani, and RSS-BJP’s money power has grown. RaGa said it will be like the independence movement, hopefully non-violent. RaGa said it is impossible for RSS-BJP to deliver anything meaningful as their outlook is to the past – a mean minded historical revanchism. He said whether one dislikes China, one has to admit they have a forward looking imagination – which RSS-BJP certainly does not have.

    Like once Nazism took hold, it could not be stopped, and it had to end in the destruction of Germany, and then give birth of a new Germany like that, India has to go through an ordeal and will have to be reborn through a mass agitation.

    I advise Shekhar Gupta and bhakths to watch the RaGa meeting with Cornell. In the meeting, you will see angry bhatks sending messages in chat box calling him just pappu – they cannot contest what he has said, and they cannot ignore what he said. I advise Shekhar Gupta to get real. RaGa is not the problem, pluck up the courage like RaGa to say RSS is a state within a state and is THE problem.

    • RaGa is just a Pappu like you. Mugging up something before the meeting and talking doesn’t make him anything great. He will always remain a Pappu like you. By the way I am a Bhakt and will refer the likes of you as PAPPU!!

      • Mr Suraj Bhan: Clearly, puerile abuse and cheap name-calling are things you excel in. I guess engaging in polite debate and dissent is something your shaka education seems not to have prioritised. Indeed, you furnish proof of your own intellectual impotence through your putrid, vacuous rant to Mr Tog’s excellent, erudite and insightful comment above.

        A tip for you Mr Suraj Bhan: Playing around in your shaka either with a bamboo lathi or the miniature, soft one attached to your groin does not help much in a debate with someone who argues with facts and figures as Mr Tog does. And in your skirmishes with Mr Tog, you do not seem to realise that the lathi centric shaka education you bring along is the proverbial “knife in the gunfight”.

        Indeed, your post reminds me of a quote from the Greek philosopher Plato:

        “.. Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something..”

        Mr Tog is clearly the wise man here.

    • Dear , first open your eyes and ear ,what pappu said was totally incorrect and he was speaking language of pak or suedosecular.

      • Please watch the video. It is a webinar with Cornell professor and his students. You will see in the chat box, BJP types saying ‘Pappu, Pappu etc.’, but none will be able to refute what he said.

        Whether there are others better than him in the Congress for PM’s post is another matter. The point is unlike Modi, he can speak to the press, he understands what is going on, and he shows basic humanity, he is not in a rage, he will not bring a mob and beat up people who disagree. His vision is clear, and he is frank and says Congress has no solution. He admits that at this moment neither Congress nor anyone else can dislodge the RSS-BJP’s combination of money and brutal mob power, but the time will come when the public will protest when it is impoverished and a few are made rich at their expense. That would be a like a second freedom struggle not from foreign exploiters, but native ones.

      • Thank you.

        Please check out the video. RaGa’s interview with Prof. Kaushik Basu from Cornell University.

        The ones who cannot face the reality try to silence opposition by calling ‘pappu’.

    • This is indeed a difficult task for media to present multiple perspectives on any issue with an objective of enabling its readership to establish their own viewpoints. Shekhar has done a very good job here without taking any sides.

      The real issue is that most would like to see and hear what pleases them most or supports their line of thinking and that’s clearly reflected in most of the comments here. Same article has elicited quite similar responses from both category of supporters here as in both see it from their own lenses and consider it as an affront on them. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t do!!

      Sum and substance is that for a healthy and vibrant democracy, there is a clear need for respectable, thinking, credible yet aggressive opposition. That’s what provides necessary checks and balances as we move on as a nation. The question we should ask is- Do we really have one?

      If not, then why blame Shekhar Gupta or the government of the day for that matter!!?? Both are actually shouting from the rooftop to have one or put one together!

    • Dear TOG,

      You seems the same from other side, it is not how you perform at meeting or how good your intention is in politics. It should be how good you perform in reality.

      Let us start from start of his career as a politician, initial years he started to reorganise youth congress all over India, he had some success but afterwards loose his interest in it and no one know what he did in it. Like this he did some other political agitation and never live up to political mindset.
      He lost his family seat, a politician should aware about situation he/she has to face in the future, he has victory in Amethi with reduced margin in 2014, still he did not put his effort to win that family seat. Frankly speaking he did not do anything in last 15 years as an MP over there. No MP has time to go back to there constituency all the time and see the progress of work but you should have such people around you who look after it, in that situation Priyanka Vadra and some other failed on his expectation. Politician or any leader must have that sense or understanding about capability of people working for him. This shows he is not a good politician or leader or he may feel sense of entitlement about Amethi constituency.

      He loose his credibility by that famous interview before 2014 election and there are so many other incidence which was highlighted since 2004. In short his image has been destroyed by himself and BJP is taking advantage by reminding people again and again.

      Frankly speaking we have hindu /muslim divide gifted by his late father in his short novice career as a politician. India suffered a lot in 90s by that rule between 84 to 89. It is better not to have another novice politician on top.

      Instead of being on top of congress Gandhi’s should get someone else to lead and keep their focus on uniting congress only.

      • I have made it clear I was not commenting on RaGa’s capability as a possible PM, nor about whether he is the best Congress has.

        I merely recounted his analysis of what has brought India to this sorry state with crumbling economy and social tensions and protests. The basic gist is the RSS is a state within the state, it has captured all positions in the bureaucracy, the big industrialists finance the RSS-BJP, and in return, the BJP has to to enrich them. The overall GDP has shrunk over the past 5 years even without Covid, but Ambanis, Adanis and 5 Gujaratis got very much richer; this can only happen at the expense of others who have become poorer.

        Rahul admitted he did not see Congress or any other party being able to stop the combined money and mob power that the RSS-BJP wields. Hence, the issue is not who leads Congress or opposition which is what you and Shekhar Gupta think. The issue is the combined money and mob power that the RSS-BJP wields. Rahul said this will be challenged eventually – not by opposition parties but by the masses in civil protest movements. We have seen a foretaste with CAA-NRC and farmers.

        I suggest you watch the interview.

    • If all you say is true why didn’t you and your intellectual masters take any action in courts.
      Absolute prejudiced conjectures and innuendos nothing backed by facts..
      If RSS is ruling and it’s emergency..tell us how many opposition leaders are in Jail today.

    • Happy to see people thinking RaGa not the problem. As long as RaGa remains relevant in congress , it is that much more advantage Modi. All other logics of RaGa presented in Coronel platform was prepared by Koushik Basu a well known Modi Critique and not RaGa thinking

    • Leaving all things apart, how come only Adandi and Ambani are the two people benefitting? What data points do you have that to support that claim? These reckless claims have put someone ‘s life in actual danger. And just to remind you Adani/Ambani grew rich and strong when congress was in power.

      • Who was selected to benefit from Rafale off set ? Not the qualified HAL, but the defaulter and failed businessman, Anil Ambani. He is given public money routed through Dassault to start a new business. Was a farmer struggling with loans given a similar favour ?

        Who is selected for corporate farming, and who has already built the silos ? Adani. Another Gujarati crony.

        Mukesh Ambani’s Jio University before start up has been conferred Centre of Excellence ! On what basis ? It is his return for funding the RSS-BJP.

        They have become richer by hundreds of crores while the GDP shrank, How ?

        Ambani’s life was not put in danger, that was just a show to gain sympathy, it was just a one day news.

        • Excellent post Mr Tog !

          If there ever was anything that punctured the myth of Modi the Clean, well then it must be the Rafale procurement scandal. Worse still, as you point out, maintanance of an extremely complex piece of equipment is awarded to Anil Ambani, a chap who ie yet to manufacture a single screw to the exacting standards of the aerospace industry. Indeed, despite Anil Ambani’s failed defence venture Reliance Naval & Engineering dragging down many public sector banks due to unpaid loans, the Modi government had no qualms about awarding the Rafale contract to Anil Ambani. Of course, HAL with more than 6 decades of experience was never in the reckong of the Modi government.

          Crony capitalism is still one of the major drivers of all Indian governments. The BJP is no exception – barring the fact that the BJP’s crony capitalists are all “khaman dhokla” types !

    • Absolutely spot on ! Shekhar should honestly look at the state of the fourth estate and their unprincipled role in both spreading false narratives about congress governments and rationalizing or covering up the excesses of bjp governments including criminal thuggery and a bankrupt worldview.

    • Brilliant analysis Tog. A very lucid description of the sordid state of affairs in India today. And thank you for this nugget of information about RaGa’s talk – I was not aware of it.

      One thing about RaGa stands out. Unlike the Delhi University graduate who only reads out prepared speeches or only responds to questions to which he already has been given answers, RaGa is able to stand on his own two feet. For all his faults – real, imagined and BJP IT Cell manufactured- RaGa is not an intellectual pygmy, unlike the pogromwala.

      Thanks for this insightful comment Tog. Hope to read more from you. People like you still leave me with some hope that India will not become a Hindu Pakistan with some RSS brand Nazism thrown in for good measure.

      • Thanks Kili. When evil people join together, good people have to link their hands to stop them. It is Gandhi’s assassins versus Gandhi.

        I hope you found the video of RaGa’s meeting with Cornell. The BJP badmouths him but I never thought RaGa was as bad as they make out (pappu). It was in fact amazing because for the first time, a prominent Indian has dared to state the problem : an extra constitutional body, the RSS, is running the state (like the Pak. army runs the country). Shekhar Gupta should have pointed that is India’s problem, but he cannot. Then at least he should stop writing articles starting with sycophantic praise of Modi and then saying as a side note the economy is in a tailspin; or sidetracking the blame on RaGa. The issue now is not whether RaGa is the best leader in Congress, or someone else should be in charge. RaGa has stated the fact is the RSS is in charge, they have big money, they have the mobs and they have no scruples about using violence.; and no opposition, liberals, etc. can stand against that. But he has also correctly noted that it will not be sustainable and change will come – because the masses will be forced to come to the street for their livelihoods, and that will happen without any opposition parties, and no govt. can survive if masses come out.

        In Modi’s first term, protests started with intellectuals like Nayantara Seghal returning her awards. Other intellectuals did the same. However, intellectuals are few and without the masses, they cannot change things. The govt. could crush or ignore them. The CAA-NRC was the first all-India civil protest. It was started by students and Muslims; but they stood for the constitution and soon Hindus and Sikhs joined them. It became international news. But with Muslims, the RSS-BJP can play the communal card and try to break it up with a communal riot, and other such bloody means. The Shaheen Bagh protest ended only due to Covid, but if it were not for that, it would have led to a bloody scene, even bigger than the Delhi riot.

        Then came the farmer’s protests. Again, they looked to turn it into a Sikh plot, but they backed off and decided so far to avoid a bloody solution.

        I see more civic protests in the offing. Modi is embarking on a public sector disinvestment. The public companies will go into the hands of cronies. The national GDP is shrinking, yet a couple are increasing in wealth, and the majority is losing their wealth, and that cannot be converted into Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Sikh etc. Modi himself has had delivery of a Boeing with luxurious interior, so he can travel like the US President. The sale of public companies is going to end in another ill planned mess-up like GST, Covid, demonetisation, and a lot of people will lose their jobs. There will be unrest. The international support Modi enjoyed between 2014-2016 has dwindled as outsiders see the reality.

  26. Looks like Print journalists read the freedom house marks of India . These journalists have no work other than boot licking of Western societies. Everything they see new, they oppose it. looks like their post colonial hangover is not over.

  27. Are the opposition is a true one. Whose only Motto was remove BJP., instead of talking on national issues. All journalist see photo of all leaders holding each other’s hand. Truly they are pulling each other behind to be in front line.

  28. Among political leaders Rahul Gandhi intelligent and honest person. He is having wide knowledge on all aspects of society. Let paid people talk many things about him. This man will play vital role in politics of India.

    • If RaGa is ‘intelligent’ than I guess I am Santa Claus, you are the abominable snowman & we are living in Shangri la!!!

    • ROFL…… Can’t help laughing…. My 12 year old son can become a better leader..than your Pappu… . Please for god sakes… There are many others in Congress who are tall leaders able and capable to lead the Grand Old Party….. But the question is can anyone talk against the Gandhis…. Nada

  29. What ever godi media says, what ever BJP IT Cell comment imposing as a common man. Though you like or dislike, Rahul Gandhi is our next PM.

  30. The author is obsessed with the present regime. During UPA government all these so called journalists and editors got everything that is otherwise called as bribe for public servants. They enjoyed what not. Did anyone ask for what NAC was formed with Super PM Sonia Gandhi. None, and today they are ready with their tough questions in hand. SHAMEFUL

  31. Yeh Hindustan nii Sanghistan hai!!! RSS will be the defacto Hindutva fascist authoritarian government. 2024 mein nii hate toh yeh dekh lena halat Turkey, Crimea, Africa jaise ho jaayegi..Aam aadmi saans nii le paayega aur Godi media hamare PM ko poochte rhegi Gau-Mutra aap din mein kitni bottle pee jaate hain!!! Subramaniam Swamy Ji ne pehle hi warn kiya tha.Jo so called deshbhakt RSS ko Patelji ne ban kiya tha jiska naa toh koi freedom struggle mein role tha. Naa hi tricolor ko support kiya. Yeh Vajpayee Sahab ki BJP nii hai yeh toh jumlon ki BJP hai. Bas woh din dekhna hai jab Maunsmriti jo caste system ko phir se laa degi aur science cow science ban ke reh jaayega tab bas Bhagwan se dua hi karte rehna kyuni Hindu dharam ka mazak bna ke rakh diya hai inhone

  32. Nitin Gokhale has already clarified that he didn’t suggest to color code anyone. It would be better to have an interview of him on The Print, him denying the allegations.

  33. The Hindu, The Telegraph, The Tribune, India Express, Deccan Chronicle, The Wire, The Quint, Scroll In, NDTV, India Today etc etc are all busy playing the role of the missing opposition. What is the issue with media that The Print talks about?

  34. The Wire,Bhushans, Yogendra Yadav’s, lefties are all posting critical of govt policies,we are witness to this
    Anyone objecting or taking them to court
    When people see every action in negatively with jaundiced view without reasoning people get frustrated with their views and analysis

  35. What do the press, most of them pampered by the corrupt traitors party khangress want. When u point your one finger at others your three fingers are pointing at you. There are any number of examples for these paid slaves who still go ga over the joker PAPPU and his illiterate Italian ex bar maid mummy Antonio maino. They were bought by the wily witch when she was the de facto PM. No no more.

  36. Your argument is great:
    If Govt does good things- Congress is bad
    If Govt does bad things- Congress is bad
    Ease of doing Journalism!

  37. Politics is popularity contest these days like Reality shows this explains why Actors like Sunny deol gets elected as a politician who have no experience in politics It has nothing to do with issues in the country the same trend will be seen in all the future elections in India.

    • What about Late Rajesh Khanna, Mr. Bachchan , Mr. Govinda elected on khangress tickets earlier? Hope they all were social workers or grassroot workers. 😂😂😂

    • What about Late Rajesh Khanna, Mr. Bachchan , Mr. Govinda elected on khangress tickets earlier? Hope they all were social workers or grassroot workers.

  38. Let us face it, Mr Gupta! Your list of things to complain about Modi and BJP is mostly cooked up fiction by the self-styled liberals and commentariat!.
    But the main point is not that the Congress is MIA, but that it has handed over the keys to everything to a family of corrupt self servers. And to cap it all to someone who is nothing but a spoilt inheriotr who has no serious agenda or policy understanding, but pops up everyday and ofter with inane personal attacks on the PM. Unless and until the Congress wakes up and chucks the whole dynasty into the nearest dustbin, it has no future!

  39. At one level, Rahul Gandhi – that includes his sister – is not worth all the newsprint ( or its electronic / online equivalent ) being lavished on him. He is simply not PM material. And yet one understands the Editor’s angst. There is a vital space in a democracy that he is neither occupying nor vacating. With such a powerful government in office, the Opposition must necessarily consist of a cohesive coalition of the sort UPA represented. He is preventing such an arrangement from becoming effective. Harming both the survival of his party and the cause of democracy.

    • Mr Ashok: Whilst one can question RaGa’s credentials, one can at the very least, confirm that he has not organised a pogrom. Nor is he associated with fascist organisations like the RSS. Can that be said about the demonetiser who is now in power ?

      • RSS represents the future of India. Hindu haters may dream whatever they wish but a political party that thinks RSS as fascist cannot come to power at centre from now onwards. Internet, Social media and now mobile in every hand has empowered Indian voter and no crook can fool them beyond few months. I have seen it in case of anti-CAA and farmers protests. If opposition want to gain peoples trust, they have to talk about their vision to fulfill voters espirations better than Modi’s vision and delivery. Abusing Modi, RSS, nationalists and political propaganda based on lies , fake news and stories doesn’t appeal today’s informed voter.

      • It can also be said that RaGa do not have the basic intelligence to understand what a pogrom is, so he cannot organize one.

      • I can’t remember any program BJP/RSS
        organized. Yes there was a unruly mob reaction to a well planned murderous attack on innocent unarmed religious people returning home at Gothra.
        Compare this with genocide of Sikhs after
        the assacination of Mrs. Gandhi in 1984.
        And the predecessors of Rahul Gandhi
        and of his Party is wholly responsible.
        which they did not or could not deny.

        • Mr Ravindra: You make the preposterous assumption that your memory is the sole repository of information about the Godhra pogroms, cf. your vacuous rant:

          “.. I can’t remember any program BJP/RSS organized. Yes there was a unruly mob reaction .. “

          Alas Mr Ravindra, the history of the world is not written by querying the Ravindra intellect and what is stored in that skull. Indeed, the RSS itself would disagree with you, cf. the speech by your friend the RSS leader Kundan Ranawat. In a speech where the RSS thug places a bounty on the head of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, he boasts:

          “.. That guilty person, that traitor, does he think Hindus don’t have the pride of Shivaji in their blood, that Hindus don’t have that kind of passion in their blood? I, Dr Kundan Chandrawat, am declaring from this platform, I have enough wealth so I am being bold in saying this – I have a house worth one crore, cut off the head of [Kerala chief minister] Vijayan and bring it to me and I will hand over my house and my wealth. Such traitors have no right to live in this country, such traitors have no right to murder democracy …. Have you forgotten Godhra? You killed 56, we sent 2000 to the graveyard. [He makes a slicing motion with his hand and the audience applauds loudly]. We – this same Hindu community – shoved [their corpses] underground [he gestures downwards, more applause]. You have killed 300 pracharaks and activists, we will present Bharat Mata with a garland of 300,000 skulls in return .. “

          You can hear your thuggish friend himself say that at: ref: bit.ly/3vdm5yY

          Yes, the Congress Party was responsible for the Sikh pogroms. But weren’t the thugs who went about killing innocent Sikhs in cold blood not Hindus Mr Ravindra? And since when did Congress crimes give carte blanche to the BJP/RSS to commit its own crimes ?

          • “But weren’t the thugs who went about killing innocent Sikhs in cold blood not Hindus Mr Ravindra.”

            They were Congressmen. The relationship of CONGRESSMEN TO HINDUS is like relationship ISIS TO MUSLIMS. Only thing you can say about those Congressmen is they had Hindu sounding names. Nobody know whether they believed in Christianity, Islam or Hinduism, as they were led by Christian family.

            So if you want to blame Hindus for activities of Congressmen, you should be willing to blame Muslims for ISIS.

    • It is indeed sad that one of the youngest and most promising democracies in the world is bereft of a competent opposition. Congress leaders should declare Rahul Gandhi as an albatross who is equally responsible for India’s downgrade on democracy index rankings.

    • If {“He is simply not PM material”, then is India a “democracy” material? Ambedkar had said to the effect that democracy can’t flourish in hierarchical India. According to Mark Tully, “India is described as a flawed democracy in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index. It has slipped from 27 in the rankings in 2014 to 53 in 2020.” So, the question is, WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, THE MAINSTAKEHOLDERS AND THE OWNER OF THE OUNTRY ARE DOING? DON’T THY CARE A BIT? WHY ARE THEY NSO BUSY ELECTING GOONDAS TO THE PARLIAMENT? WHY DON’T THEY BRUSH ASID RAHUL AND HIS CONGRESS PARTY, AND DO WHT NEEDS TO BGE DONE?

  40. What are those restrictions journalists that the author talks about in the beginning paragraphs? As far as I can see, any journalist and his/her imbecile cousin can talk negatively about Narendra Modi. That includes non Indian journalists also. Repeating a lie endlessly does not turn it into truth – especially since news traders in India are not very high on the list of trusted businesses of the general public.

    • These sickular journos keep going on and on about gagging of free speech. They never crib if uddhav, mamta, sonia, congi spoons, commies, dmk, etc, do it which they do multiple times more than BJP.

    • These journalist want others who reads their crap to blindly believe their narrative like in the past . Time has changed and what these crooks want is not going to happen .

    • The consequences may not be visible but are very much present. The press does not include such topics in their discussions as it would be equivalent to asking themselves to be attacked. Acts of people like Disha Ravi are enough to enrage politicians and file FIR’s. What makes you think the press won’t face this? The truth is in front of your very own eyes…..please do not ignore it

    • Do you remember the time when Sonia Gandhi filed an FIR against a mere cartoon artist who drew a cartoon of her like 9 years ago? These secularist would absolutely ignore that. Not to forget that most left websites like The Wire came into existence after 2014. If this isn’t free speech, then what is?

  41. What are those restrictions journalists that the author talks about in the beginning paragraphs? As far as I can see, any journalist and his/her imbecile cousin can talk negatively about Narendra Modi. That includes non Indian journalists also. Repeating a lie endlessly does not turn it into truth – especially since news traders in India are not very high on the list of trusted businesses of the general public.

  42. Brutal takedown of RaGa and his sycophants. The parliament must make it mandatory for all political parties, from the lowest levels at ward elections to the National Parliament, to have transparent & credible elections for both their party positions as well as in Govt when they win them. It’s cynical & tiring to watch the politicians crying hoarse about democracy dying in the country when they foist a tyrannical system within their own political formations.

  43. RG Is Unsure Of What Needs To Be Done To Be The Boss Of The Party Leave Alone Leading The Country.He Gives An Impression Of Trying Out Every Other Trick Up His Sleeves.Obviously There Are Guys Genuinely Concerned And Others End Up With Hearty Laugh.

  44. Oh my God….print talking about free media……but jinhone pahale hi talwe chatana chalu kar rakha hai unhe kaise bachaye …..poor print

  45. Attacking the government or the opposition for political propaganda has reduced some journalists to mere political activists. I expect a journalist to put facts and speak truth instead of indulge in manufacturing fake news and stories. I have seen the behaviour of such fake journalists on anti CAA and now Farmers protests. By now Shekhar Gupta must know that Modi and Hindu haters can no more fool people as their lies get exposed as soon as they open their mouth. A day will come when Rahul Gandhi would realize that Indian voters are not fools as he has assumed.

  46. Government is wary of the librandus journalists and media , which has been left domintaed for ages malignining the bjp government and even India both internally as well as internationally, at least there is something is positive to write about the the country or the government or there isn’t ?? All these gaurdians of dissent ndtv , wire et al they themselves will never publish anything even mildly critical of their view or line of thinking within their portals , what a sham!! People have recognised that the libral English educated media can go anti national to any extent to malign the country and government, hence the back lash from people as well

  47. The real issue here is that we are seeing only Congress Party as opposition while everybody knows that Rahul Gandhi is not a suitable person for Indian politics .we should look beyond ..my bet is on Kejriwal specially because he is a perfect example of good administration without any nonsense politics ..if we want to end all these drama politics going on then we have to choose good leaders by ourselves.. we as citizens have become too fragile and are easily influenced what government it wants to show us.. we have lost our critical thinking capabilities which are essential to run a good democracy..

  48. Stupid article, my dear. The journalists think themselves above law. Behave as superhumans. In reality they are nooncompoop stupid rogues giving false information, false narrative and doing all illegal activities. Congress overlooked them, gave them plots, gave them awards and freebies. Since that is stopped, you are offended. Deshdrohi. Journalists have sold themselves to Congress, left, terrorists.

  49. If the Media is facing existential threats, it is thanks to Nira Radias, Burkha Dutts who used Press power for unworthy purposes, and media pandering to UPA government’s agenda, perceiving it as invincible during UPA 1. As ordinary citizens, we perceive every government as necessary evil, always ready to trouble its citizens.

    But, when the opposition to the government takes anti-India or anti-Hindu colours, we too are alarmed. Even Shakespear’s Ceaser said “He looks lean and think. He thinks too much. He is dangerous”. Voltaire was endlessly troubled by the French governments for his outspoken attitudes and several attempts to help the underdogs. He had to live an exile’s life in Switzerland.

    So gagging the thinking public is a good old habit of the governments. My request is don’t take the opposition to the government to the extent of undermining Indian interests, as has been happening lately, thanks to the help of Soros, Greta Thurburg, et al.

  50. De-Mo, problems on with China/Pakistan, CAA, farmers protests, removal of 370&35A, wins and losses in some states are unlikely to affect Modi’s prospects so long as there is no opponent who is perceived as clean as him, his oratory, vision capacity to put in hard work etc will be second on the list. His image is unlikely to be damaged no matter what allegations are leveled against him of being dictatorial, inadequately educated etc,etc.
    RaGa may be the current jumping jack, but everyone else on the political canvass has become irrelevant.
    Modi’s clean image may even become a problem for BJP in future to find a replacement, nearest to him will have to be another BRAHMACHARI.
    Hope the country starts putting higher premium on a clean image.

  51. YAWN. Every govt practices the same vindictiveness when in power. The state govts are the worst. Incl that of Mamta and Udhav.
    Regarding Mandal…the agitation came in 1990 not within one year of Rajiv Gandh’s unprecedented 400 plus. VP Singh announced night before Devi Lal’s rally he will implement the Mandal Commission’s recommendations.
    In 1985 there was movement against reservations in Gujarat. I think the author is referring to that.

  52. Absolutely agree with you Gupta Sir……Every single opposition party and their chiefs & cadres, if any, are in the dumps…. The only one fighting the Modi+Shah+Nadda+BJP juggernaut is the Mamata Banerjee, and to some extent Kejriwal & AAP…….. I dont like Mamata banerjee’s politics….but atleast she is fighting them, tooth and nail…. street by street….. i think it is time for the public and the press to dump Congress…. and support the AAP & TMC….. but these groups should also reorient their politics….. resort to pure merit based politics and not familial based politics…. possibly then they can aspire for larger public support…

  53. If congress spits on you (media), why you want to spit back on him. Why dont you be the true journalist who go about reporting comissions and omissions. If you start writing about someone flaunting muscle, someone growing beard and waistline, it is no positive journalism.
    Are you saying “what the hell is RG doing when G23 is meeting” which means atleast you give some credibility to G23 of congress. You can write some glowing articles on G23 and make them win the fight with 51 congress men in LS. G23 taking on modi may be a theme in FAUGI game. Citizenry are seen happy about how the nation is progressing, why do you crib …

  54. Questioning the Govt is very noble, but when you and your ilk start peddling anti-national narratives, falsehoods, propaganda intended to undermine the country’s achievements and blatant white-anting, do you expect any sympathy?

  55. Maybe he is deliberately doing so. Reason – all the “Jyotiradityas” will migrate to BJP (AAP/Shiv Sena/Trinamool etc.) The people left over will atleast be committed to the cause of changing the dangerous course that this nation has been steered into by Modi Sarkar. The Anand Sharmas and Kejriwals will not be able to withstand the pseudo nationalist pressure of the BJP troll army and its myriad supporters. Even if they reach power somehow, they will cave in. Look at how Kejriwal is falling over himself to legalise a temple already declared illegal by court of law.

    For better or worse, RG is the only option which is the anti-thesis of this hydra headed monster unleashed on our country in the name of nationalism which attacks women, minorities and intellectuals while letting enemies at the border steal our lands and kill our soldiers. Economy and protection of jobs and livelihood of ordinary Indians means nothing to this govt in front of sucking up to rich friends. If you want real change, look to RG. If you want pseudo change perhaps Kejriwal or Congress turncoats may help.

  56. I may disagree with some points in some of your articles Shekhar G, but this had me smiling with admiration. Loved it. I can’t find anything wrong with any of the points you have raised. More power to your pen. Cheers.

    • Echo that.
      I am glad to be a subscriber to the Print to keep such journalism going.
      Well done on a balanced article.

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