The ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’ and BJP

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Assembly elections in UP and other states are around the corner.  Desperate to stop Modi juggernaut, alliances are being made and unmade. Here is one in UP

UP’s Mahagathabandhan =Akhilesh’s SP-+Mulayam’s old guard + -Congress + -RLD Other local parties too are coming together on ‘secular’ platform.

The pluses and minuses change daily like in a soap opera. The Yadav family drama has caught the fancy of our pseudo-everything main stream media. Very eager to see Modi humbled and bundled out, the media clutches at every tenuous thread to prop any challenger -Kejriwal, Hardik, Mayawati, Mamata, and Rahul being air dropped between his vacations. Media’s latest knight in shining armour is Akhilesh.

The ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’

Media’s ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’ goes like this: SP faced anti-incumbency. With his bold gambit of throwing out old guard Akhilesh would overcome negative performance and image of his own government. The EC dutifully gives him the ‘Cycle’ instead of freezing the symbol. Akhilesh’s youth and Muslim vote in pocket and some laptops would be enough to sweep aside Modi’s BJP.

Then the soap opera’s conductor adds a twist to the script. The father, the son, and the uncles would soon get together for a family selfie. Our media spinners spin a new sub-theory -Maulana’s return would bring back Muslim votes which would have been captured by Mayawati.

Mayawati’s vote trawler

She has a trawler with her vote-fishing net having 97 floats thrown out in UP’s waters muddied by caste and Muslim factors. Mayawati stares at her fishing net’s 97 bobbing nodes and wonders whether to focus on Muslims or her wads of SC votes.

Congress, seeking a semblance of relevance, declares its alliance with Akhilesh. Our media is ecstatic.

Politics is changing, opposition doesn’t get it

This is how electoral politics has played out all along in India -deals, counter deals, back deals, reward the rebels, encash votebanks of castes and be very afraid of Muslim vote.

If one looks at the enthusiastic support by common people to demonetization, one knows that India under its PM’s leadership has already changed and it is changing. When Modi exhorts BJP to be transparent about its funding, one can assume that he is throwing another challenge to the political class.

By this time, details of BJP MPs’ and MLAs’ cash deposits from November 8th to December 30th must be under processing.

Modi has irrevocably altered India’s political economy. He is combining a revamped and bigger subsidy regime with a business-friendly environment and infrastructure development with boosting small and tiny businesses through Mudra loans. Demonetization, e-transactions and GST are ushering in a faster economy.  A grocer, a shoe shine wala and every ordinary Indian have tasted the advantages of digital economy and what it means to get transfers of subsidies and payments directly in one’s bank account.  In rural households, LPG connections are replacing smoking chullahs. She knows that her ‘notes’ are safer in her bank than in her kitchen. She feels empowered and is no longer a beggar that the Congress had reduced her to be. She is a tough task master. Read more

Right under the nose of opposition political parties and media, Modi is transforming India’s politics too. While they are creating fiction of intolerance, church attacks, and Dalit deaths, India’s politics is changing from job reservations to livelihood and wealth creation, from fear of technology to embracing it and innovating, from mere demands to people’s participation as seen during demonetization crunch, from main stream media to social media and specialty media. That’s why some ’eminent’ journalists are clamoring for gagging the social media.

Public mood is changing from cynicism about crime and scams to taking on the monsters of black money  and terror.  When else would you find the Prime Minister and the most watched and followed politician launching BHIM app for person to person transfer funds based on indigenously developed technology?

Opposition parties are scared of Modi’s budget coming right before the polling for assembly elections begins. They know that something has changed but they don’t get what -conditioned as they are by decades of Congress style of politics.

But what about the BJP?

I had written in my article on June 12, 2016

“The worrying fact is that BJP is playing the game set up by its opposition.”  Read more

At that time, BJP lacked an overarching emotive appeal that would transcend caste and religion considerations. Surgical strikes against Pakistan and the war on black money which has reached every household are those overarching issues now. From its towering leader, BJP couldn’t have asked for more. Then there are powerful local issues like bleak law and order, communal riots, and Kairana exodus.  Akhilesh has nothing to show and everything to hide for his rule of five years.

As I write this, I am aware of RSS’s Manmohan Vaidya’s statement on reservations at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The opposition and main stream media are quite thrilled because they are good at twisting facts to suit them.  For an ever-defensive BJP, this provides another reason to stay on back foot. If BJP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, this would be an excuse like it was in Bihar elections. The reason wasn’t valid in Bihar of 2015. It will be even less valid in UP and India of 2017.

You can’t learn how to win from losers of 2014. You can surely learn something from the winner, your top leader and India’s PM -work on your message and deliver it aggressively.

Is BJP afraid of losing UP ? 

Afraid to do anything ‘wrong’ lest it doesn’t win, it stitches an alliance of castes and plans to select candidates accordingly. BJP hears about Akhilesh-Congress alliance and it goes on defensive. It forgets its own PM’s huge achievements and its declared poll planks -surgical strikes and demonetization. On top of allotting tickets to Congress and BSP rebels it welcomes a thoroughly discredited ND Tiwari in its fold. BJP later plays down the whole sordid episode after a huge protest by its supporters on social media. In 2012, BJP had welcomed BSP’s Babu Singh Kushwaha infamous for NRHM scam.  In 2004, it had welcomed strongman and history sheeter DP Yadav.

Worse, when its workers die at the hands of leftists and jihadis in states like Kerala, It doesn’t take the state governments to task. It ignores Hindu traditions to be trampled by foreign-funded NGOs emboldened by a lopsided judicial overreach.  Our pseudo-secular opposition doesn’t see anything wrong in casteist and minority appeasement politics and letting corrupt contest elections. Is BJP afraid of bad press?

BJP may sweep polls, but we need better politics from it

Union Budget will most likely consolidate and build upon Modi Government’s pro-poor and development reputation. Modi’s rallies in UP will be another big factor. These factors and the emotive and substantive issues mentioned above may transcend Congress politics. UP’s main parties SP and BSP are not likely to come together. Therefore, it is quite possible that BJP will sweep the UP polls. But we expect far better politics and communication by the largest political party.


The above article was first published at:


What might be PM Modi’s game plan for 2019?

Part 6 of series on #modiplan (Final part)


Links to previous posts in this series

Scenario 2019:

Criticism of Modi Sarkar:

In praise of Modi Sarkar:

My expectations from Modi Sarkar:

PM Modi confounds both critics and admirers:


These are updates to my article published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

Update (December 3, 2015) : Gujarat civic polls has seen BJP maintaining its hold in urban areas while Congress has made inroads in rural areas.

What might be PM Modi’s game plan?

Does the scenario presented in the part 5 assure Modi a win in 2019? My answer is NO. Let us see why.

He won the 2014 election because of

1) Strong and wide spread anti-Congress sentiments

2) He embodied aspirations for better life of all and his Gujarat track record gave him credibility

3) Support by all those who stand for Hindu civilization as a soul of India. mainly BJP and RSS cadres and other supporters

4) Social Media helped consolidate all above and overcome main stream media’s campiagn against him

Despite these factors causing a wave , BJP could get just 31% of votes in the last election. In a first past the post system of elections 31% votes may be enough to win large number of seats especially if there is no strong second party. We can infer that without any one or two of above factors he would not have won decisively. I call it a Tripod phenomenon.

By 2019 :

1) Anger towards Congress will have gone down considerably as long as Congress doesn’t do something really foolish and terrible. Also it will most likely be a non-crisis situation for India.

2) Lives of a large section of poor will have improved. (Please read the Scenario 2019 post for more details). But gratitude is not an emotion which lasts long and absence of justice won’t help matter. Despite many theories, I think that Indians don’t vote for good work. Not for the kind of good work the economists and business people favor.

3) Many of those who stand for the Hindu soul of India will have been in angry or despondent mood. Our patriotism comes to the fore when we play cricket against Pakistan or when there is an over war. At all other times we think only of ourselves, our families, or caste, or religion in case of minorities. We don’t take pride in being Indian. Even if we do, our pride doesn’t translate in doing good job, following rules meant for common good, and doing good for society our country. Compare this with the pride with Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, or Americans behave even as they take care of themselves. Our narrow selfishness usually overrides all other considerations. This has nothing to do with education or economic well being. We find this in affluent classes as well. This translates by default in low voting percentage.

4) The BJP’s trajectory doesn’t look good as a party which can put out across government’s good work or as a party which can counter oppositions political tactics or as party which is a step ahead of opposition. (Please See Scenario 2019 link above for more about the BJP) (Update December 8, 2019). BJP’s arrogance and laziness (it was a lazy opposition too -barring some exceptions and until Modi arrived on national scene) is already putting off its supporters.

5) Social media will not be enough to counter anti-Modi media. Polling percentage can fall in a non-crisis situation particularly when we haven’t built a strong national identity. When there is no emotion driving us local, caste, religion factors dominate. I have said that gratitude is not a strong enough emotion to make people come out and vote.

The above scenario doesn’t look rosy for Modi’s second term because he has come up on a Tripod Support.   Even if one leg wobbles, he will be shaky. It will be a pity, because he likely to be the best PM so far. Remember, even Atal Behari Vajpayee lost in 2004 despite doing well as PM and despite being seen as secular.

It is safe to assume that the PM knows this. He is much ahead of most (should I say all?) of us -as Raghuraman Rajan recently said. He is also a very quick learner. Therefore it is quite likely that he will make directional corrections. His repeated statements that his government is working to a plan gives credence to this.

Next wave of actions

What will he do that we haven’t yet seen? It is a matter of speculation.

He will  focus on what can be done and be visible in next four years .

  1. We are likely to see much better actions on black money.
  2. We are likely to see good actions in agriculture sector.  I expect that Modi knows that rural votes still depend on state of agriculture no matter how well ‘Make in India’ takes off. There have been some tentative steps on APMC s etc. Expect more comprehensive actions. These things take time. He has to find right people too.
  3. In Silicon Valley he said that ‘Governance is going to be his first priority’. We expect major administrative changes in the ministries concerned with all the areas where progress is poor.  We can expect induction of more talent through lateral entries, even at the cabinet level. There have been many changes in the Finance and Home Ministry. His Goverment has been dismantling the the sleazy nexus of power, cash and influence at the heart of the Delhi Durbar. Read this Many of these changes don’t grab headlines but their effects will be seen soon(update December 8, 2015).
  4. His party, the BJP has so far not been a match to the Congress and its eco-system. He will know that the the battle for the second mandate won’t be won using social media and non-party support alone. So we can expect BJP organization level actions.  There is no evidence so far. But we will see some actions in next two or three months.
  5. We can expect more from Modi Government during last two years of his present term on corruption. We are likely to see prominent Congress leaders and other big fish to be brought to book. (Update December 7, 2019 NH case against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is gathering pace. Also see for more info various Big Fish cases) This has been the demand of Modi’s supporters and many others. The unchecked crime and corruption by the big for all these sixty years has been the root cause of cynicism of Indians and anger towards the Congress. The Modi Sarkar wasn’t seen to be acting decisively in this area. This will surely change.
  6. Expect Netaji files to be declassified. (Update: around Diwali 2015 PM Modi announced that Netaji files will be de-classified on Januray 23, 2016 to mark his birth anniversary)
  7. Even if all the above things are done, PM Modi will still be on a vulnerable Tipod. He is trying to win new support base outside his core nationalist base.  There is no evidence yet that he is succeeding.  If this is so, he will have to give strong emotional reasons for us Indians to go out and vote for him in large numbers.
  8. His handling of Pakistan has confounded both his critics and admirers. The Congress has been reduced to criticizing both cancellation of talks and sudden talks with Pakistan. He is trying to isolate Pakistan on terror charges and at the same time is seen to be engaging with Pakistan. He will keep everyone guessing. There is no doubt that Pakistan has been the biggest external bugbear for India for all times. It has inflicted huge economic and psychological costs on us while hurting itself. Pakistan is not just a rogue state, but is a state which is now at risk due to its own internal contradictions of supporting terror and fighting terror,  taking pride in being a Muslim State and killing Muslims. Its people are suffering.  

 PM Modi will surely like to solve the Pakistan Problem. Every Indian PM wished to be seen to be solving the problem. But PM Modi  has put himself in a good position for doing this. This will be one emotional reason for us to go out and vote for him again. (Update December 8, 2015)

An example of how Narendra Modi works

Those who are ready to go behind the headlines by our paid media would have noticed some threads of how our man-on-the-job Narendra Modi is going about the job which we have entrusted to him -pull our country out of the morass of corruption, non-performance, feudalism, self-pity (as a nation), arrogance (to fellow Indians), backward and inward thinking and to put it on the path of performance and progress.

Mod won an unprecedented mandate last year. But he has no shortage of critics. Some well meaning, some prejudiced, and some corrupt and some corrupted.

Even the well meaning supporters tend be impatient and despair because they don’t see what they wish to see. The task of reviving India is humongous. The ills mentioned above are deep-rooted. If you are new in the job you wouldn’t know whom to trust to begin with. Modi knows something more than us.

I dare say that most of us (the public) have never ever revived even a small organization -leave alone a town, a state, or a nation. Yet we criticize Modi without having any clue how this job is done.

We know of something about counter-terrorism strike in Myanmar, relief operations in Nepal and J&K, seizing of terror boat.  Even the media-paid-for-abusing-Modi couldn’t block this. But did we notice that this summer has come and gone without those debilitating power cuts? Do we have any clue to how this happened? Unlike the drop in fuel prices this improvement hasn’t come due to global factors. The revival of Coal India’s mining productivity is behind this.

Coal India is Public Sector Unit and has been ridden with mafia, corruption, outdated technology, and unionism. To turn around even such a single PSU llike Coal India is a mammoth task. We have some encouraging results in an year’s time.

Newspapers and TV channels won’t write much about it because Congress has built a complex web of media and intellectuals support (funded by Middle East and West) and they wouldn’t want to you to know about Modi’s good work. The second reason is that you the reader or viewer is so overworked and under-paid that you have zero inclination to go behind  the headlines and dig around a bit.

Thankfully, some of us do just that.

Here is one more element of Modi’s wide ranging efforts.


> When former ICICI chairman KV Kamath was appointed chairman of the BRICS bank by the Modi government recently, he was pleasantly surprised because he had not expected it. It was a case similar to that of Subhash Garg, a secretary in the Rajasthan government, who was appointed executive director of the World Bank. It came totally out of the blue to him. And not without reason, because the convention has been that these posts don’t come without lobbying and those in the prime minister’s office (PMO) or close to it are favoured contenders. Moreover, even the post of the Union petroleum secretary, which has been, in the past, dictated by corporate houses on a few occasions, went to a man who didn’t expect it at all – KD Tripathi, a straightforward Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the northeast cadre.
> Clearly, as the dust settles on the debate over how the Narendra Modi government fared in its first year, the most glorious of its achievements has been missed or has got relegated to the background – dismantling of the transfer-posting industry in the top bureaucratic echelons of Delhi. If one goes into history, it has been one of the primary causes of the failure of the Indian delivery system when it comes to results on the ground which the late Rajiv Gandhi had encapsulated very precisely: “When I release one rupee from Delhi, only 15 paisa reaches the end beneficiary.”
> Such a clean-up of the bureaucracy is happening for the first time in three decades – or to be precise, since 1980 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after her 1977 debacle decided to put personal loyalty above all and started tolerating corruption as a necessary evil. Amid arguments and counter-arguments as to how the Modi government did in various areas since it took over the reigns, this has been its most conscious attempt to clear the delivery system clogged by corruption and nepotism, a step necessary to translate government programmes into results for the benefit of the last person in the society.
> The biggest change he has brought about is that the selection of top level officers is now being done by the cabinet secretariat and the PMO and the respective minister’s role is now almost non-existent. During ten years of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), ministers were allowed to choose their own secretaries which was one of the main reasons for pliant and corrupt officers being posted. In one case, the National Highway Authority chairman was changed four times in a short span of time at the instance of a minister because the chairmen were not adequately submissive to the minister. Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai said: “The earlier practice of allowing the ministers to choose his top level officers, in fact, destroyed the civil services because it resulted in massive lobbying at the ministerial level forced by extraneous objectives. Prime Minister Modi has indeed brought a lot of objectivity by stopping this practice and further showing his own commitment to the cause by getting an upright officer like PK Mishra to oversee postings in the PMO as his principal secretary.”
> Gone are the days when key postings were decided in Delhi’s five-star hotels. This is a major development for India as those who acquire a post through lobbying must either recover the money they have paid for the post or oblige their patrons after being posted. Many still believe that corruption in the bureaucracy has been one of the main reasons for India’s backwardness since independence – something that started in a closed economy and went on even after it was opened.
> True, postings of key officials are no longer decided in the power corridors or at late night dinner meetings in hotels as used to be the case under many governments of the past, but by diligent hands in the ministry of personnel, the cabinet secretariat and finally the PMO, who work for hours scouting for the right person for the right job. That Modi was committed to this from day one became clear when he appointed his former principal secretary in Gujarat and retired IAS officer PK Mishra as his principal secretary in charge of appointments with clear-cut instructions to clear the mess.
> Mishra has devised new methods of due diligence for knowing the true worth of an officer before his final selection which go much beyond the usual perusal of the records of the officers. It involves Mishra’s staff making elaborate inquiries from external and multiple sources about the reputation of the officer and his suitability for the job he is being considered for. Since the Modi government took over, over 550 postings have been made of officers of the level of secretary, joint secretary and additional secretary and almost all were done with objectivity and without lobbying.
> Interestingly, with an eye on selecting right people for the right jobs, some very innovative postings have been made in the larger interest of good governance. Take the case of Sanjay Chadda, an officer in the Indian Railways. His expertise in economics came to the notice of the Modi government when he was a member of the committee headed by Bibek Debroy on railway reform. Next, he was posted as a joint secretary in the commerce ministry. The praiseworthy part is that even IAS officers posted in states can hope to get big postings in Delhi which earlier they thought they would never get unless they were already serving in Delhi or had the right “pull and push” in the corridors of power in Delhi. According to Rai, the objectivity in postings is exemplary. Mishra said: “Merit in the form of transparency and efficiency are the government’s sole guiding factors when it comes to bureaucratic and even other appointments”.
> The best example of dismantling of the transfer-posting raj is in the Indian Railways, where many posts in the Railway Board and even those of general managers carried a price tag under many past governments. It is to the great credit of the Modi government and the PMO in particular, that in a short span, it has helped appoint 26 people as general managers and five members of the Railway Board, including the chairman in the most transparent manner which has no parallel in Indian Railways in the past 35 years. Significantly, as soon as Suresh Prabhu took over as the railway minister, he had requested the cabinet secretariat and the PMO to help him in appointing good officers.
> Interestingly, the figures that went with these posts as under the table money are mindboggling, according to Indian Railways sources. The post of certain general managers carried a price of Rs 2.5 to Rs 5 crore and of certain Railway Board members over Rs 5 crore. The most shocking information is that in the appointment of a Railway Board chairman a few years ago, a political leader allegedly took an unbelievable Rs 50 crore. The deal was that the chairman will pay the money in a fixed time frame after taking over. A former Railway Board official said: “By appointing honest officers to these posts in the Railways, the Modi government has curbed corruption of a minimum Rs 1,000 crore so far.” If Modi is to get maximum results for his initiatives, he has to now find ways to take this clean bureaucracy culture to the states through some innovative methods and innovation to have maximum impact.
> History is a great teacher. In 1707, when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, virtually losing the 27-year epic war with the Marathas, he had one big regret which he put in his last will and testament: The greatest pillar of a kingdom is the keeping of information. The laxity of my spy network allowed Shivaji to escape from my clutches from Agra in 1666. That blunder is chiefly responsible for my misery now.”
> Have your say. You can comment here.Modi appears to have realised that unless he streamlines the bureaucracy and with it the delivery system, his so-called great vision is never going to get translated. He also seems to have taken a cue from Chattrapati Shivaji’s life story as described by the great historian Sir Jadunath Sarkar: “Shivaji’s dominion spread first of all through the conquests of hearts of the common people which only a strong and honest administrator can achieve.” Clearly, today as in Shivaji’s period, the way to their heart is through good governance, which in turn, is possible only through a good delivery system. And Modi seems to know it.


The fourth pillar of our democracy is crumbling (crumbled)

India’s 2014 general election was epochal in more than one sense. It defied the media pundits by bringing in a first non-congress majority government at the center. The long and eventful campaign before the election also brought out the fact that the main stream media of India couldn’t be relied on for providing accurate and unbiased facts – the fundamental role expected from the fourth pillar of our democracy.

Indeed the General Election was epochal because Narendra Modi led campaign almost completely bypassed the main stream media by using social media, volunteer teams, and direct campaigns. It won because it did so.

The main stream media continues to manufacture facts rather than reporting them. I received a small such sample from a friend.  Here it is:

List of false and misleading reports by media

See for yourself how much you should be trusting the fourth pillar of our democracy -free media.

My opinion: we don’t have any easy substitute and our habits of trusting the printed word and TV visuals without questioning anything also are going to be hindrance. We just can’t form correct opinions by ‘consuming’ media.

Media. a web of lies, and machinations of Congress

Motivated Media manufactured a ‘divisive Modi’ image and almost succeeded in keeping us under a perpetual #dynasty.

As I continue to read Kishwar’s Modi, Muslims and Media I am astounded by media’s capacity for willful untruths. I have never been a fan of Indian main stream media, but I think I am yet to gauge the depth of the rot that has set in our media firmament under over six decades of Congress rule.

Go back to October 10, 2001. Modi had just been put in the CM’s position by the BJP. On this day he addressed Gujarati people for the first time as a Chief Minister. Kishwar gives English translation of his full speech in Gujarati. The speech outlines his agenda and priorities (Reconstruction of the Bhuj Earthquake and providing water \ power to farmers were the two of them). But his agenda goes much beyond problem solving. There is not a trace of divisiveness in it. On the contrary it has a wholesome vision of Gujarat’s progress.

When read the full text, I remembered many of Modi’s 2014 Loksabha election speeches -only development agenda. Broad strokes of imagination and attention to priorities in the short term.

His speech should be a primer for any Chief Minister. It is a master class. I request Madhu Kishwar to publish her English translation in full and share it widely.

It is clear as daylight that the Congress and the mains stream media manufactured ‘divisive Modi’ image only to serve their own purpose. In Kishwar’s words, “the demonisation of Modi started well before the riots of 2002. His troubles arose not because he came with a divisive agenda, but because he put an end to politics of divide and rule and plugged loopholes of corruption. He made enemies because of all this” Here also lies the genesis of 2002 riots.

Our main stream media, whose freedom we guard zealously,  almost succeeded in keeping Modi out of Prime Ministerial race. Recall the days just before and after his anointment as PM candidate and the intense smear campaign by media and intellectual stooges of Congress.

The web of willful and motivated lies and machinations still operates -think about the hate posts, riots, and murder and media coverage. Think about the insinuations and allegations that Modi \ BJP victory has encouraged ‘right-wing extremism’

Also think: had the above web of lies and machinations succeeded.. and we had as a PM a stooge or a novice or a crafty casteist or egotist politician. Shudder.

I strongly recommend to both those, who voted for and against Modi,  to read Modi, Muslims and Media.

The question remains: how to deal with the web of lies and machinations?