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.


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‘Dangal’ in SP’s Yadav Family, Triple Talaq, and BJP in UP

The Dangal in Mulayam Singh’s Yadav clan and Samajwadi Party and Tata’s tussle with Cyrus Mistry have pushed everything else in the background. The US Presidential race between Trump and Hillary is in its decisive phase. The post ‘surgical strikes’ situation at LOC remains tense. BSF recently countered Pakistan’s transgression. The ISI spy ring involving Pakistan High Commission’s staffer has been busted. All these and equally important issues like Triple Talaq have been pushed into the background.

If newspaper headlines and news channels’ tickers reflected public mood or political realities, we would not have had Narendra Modi led BJP and NDA sweeping the 2014 polls. Had the criticism of PM Modi’s Pakistan policy in media been founded on facts and logic, the surgical strikes would not have happened. The financial meltdown of 2008 and Brexit also would not have happened.

About four months back, UP elections looked to be a difficult challenge for BJP. BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 with UP contributing a lion’s share to the tally. But subsequently, BJP had lost Bihar to the Mahagathabandhan of Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. It was unable to counter the caste arithmetic and propaganda about reservations. In UP, the BJP couldn’t decide on a CM candidate. The party had been out of power for over a decade. Despite Amit Shah’s undeniable credentials as a great election manager the going seemed to be tough for BJP.  Read

In June, this author had argued that BJP needs to play to its strengths and not weaknesses like caste arithmetic. He had summed up the challenge as: “BJP is without an overarching emotive promise which can galvanize this fractured society to come out its nooks and crannies, to come together and vote for it”

Now there is a big shift in public mood.

The surgical strikes against Pakistan have resonated with people throughout the country cutting across sub identities like caste, language and religion. The Modi government and India’s brave Army fulfilled the fervent wish of every Indian ( Read ) and the nation gave an overwhelming approval to the government and the army (Read )

The Congress led opposition soon realized this and started doubting the ‘surgical strikes’ themselves. When this backfired, Congress claimed that surgical strikes had happened during the UPA regime too.  When this too didn’t impress people, it started telling PM Modi and BJP ‘not take political advantage of army’s success’.  These are sure signs that Congress and opposition have realized that they have lost credibility and considerable public support.

The Triple Talaq issue is now unraveling. The Modi government came out convincingly against continuation of this regressive practice under the pretext of religious freedom. PM Modi said “Can’t allow lives of Muslim women to be ruined by triple talaq” (read ).  He also said that this is not a Hindu-Muslim issue.  His government has framed this issue in terms of ‘compatibility with India’s constitution and gender justice’.

So far, the Samajwadi Party had assumed that Muslim votes would accrue in its account. The Mulayam-Akhilesh feud has left Akhilesh government doddering. Its election prospects now look much worse than before -whether the patch up happens or not. It is difficult to see how even its ‘own Yadavs’, leave alone Muslims, will feel assured enough to vote for it.

Mayawati’s BSP was ascending earlier. But BSP has been plagued by large scale attrition of senior leaders -some no doubt disgruntled by larger allocation to Muslim candidates.

The triple talaq issue is bound to make some Muslims think again. Those who are with Mullahs and Maulvis will remain opposed to the BJP. Out of the 18% share of Muslims in UP, 9% will be women. Even if half of them and some men rethink, we are talking about a probable swing of 4 to 5% away from parties which don’t oppose Triple Talaq.  Mayawati has told the Modi Government to leave Muslims alone -in other words let Muslim women suffer until the Mullahs see light. Her ‘target constituency of young Muslims’ are not going to be very convinced about her stand.  Her idea of attracting Brahmins is also going to be difficult. The Samajwadi Party is not in a position to take a stand on the issue and it may default to support for continuation of Triple Talaq. Congress is an insignificant player in UP. It is still hedging the issue. It would like to get Muslim votes, but it also is in a race to get Brahmin votes. This hedging is not going to make it more popular.

Coming on the back of surgical strikes, Modi government’s stand on Triple Talaq must have further cemented BJP’s core support base. In a multi-cornered election a 4 to 5 % swing of votes and consolidation of broad support bases will be decisive factors.

PM Modi has led the charge for BJP on Triple Talaq. His hugely popular Pakistan policy and credible development appeal are big strengths for the BJP.  The opposition parties, which so far relied on caste and religion vote banks, will find it tough to face the BJP.  It is for BJP to take advantage of confusion in the ranks of opposition parties and surge ahead.


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Burhan Wani and the Chinks in India’s Armor- Police, Judiciary, and Media

Image Credits: ANI News

This article was first published on here

The killing of Burhan Wani -a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, on whose head the Government of India had announced Rs 1 Million bounty (read and read ) -in an encounter involving armed resistance on July 8 with J&K police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles -is an excellent achievement by Indian State. Wani’s killing will surely prevent some terror activity in J&K.

Yet, this success also underlines chinks in India’s security armor. The fact is that Wani could openly move around and recruit people on social media shows up weaknesses in surveillance by local police.

The Central investigating agency NIA has stepped up its activities for arresting accused, wanted, or suspected terrorists. Recently, NIA captured of Yasir Niamatullah, ISIS’s Hyderabad Chief and his fund raiser Athaullah Rehman.  Earlier On June 28, NIA and UP’s STF nabbed key accused for murder of NIA offer Tanzeel Ahmed. On May 20, NIA arrested Indian Mujahideen’s senior member Abdul Wahid Siddiba in Delhi.  NIA has arrested wanted or suspected people in 27 cases in 2016 alone (read). A look at NIA’s archives shows that it has stepped up its pace of activities considerably in years 2014, 2015, and further more in 2016. Modi Government is clearly progressing on this front.

While a more active NIA is a good sign -it puts pressure on local police to act – it is clearly not enough as shown by serious terror attacks kike Pathankot, Gurdaspur, and Jammu in recent times.

Add Maoist terror to the Islamic terror. Naxalites operate in 60 districts of India known as the Red Corridor. Many of these areas are out of bounds of Indian State.

A specialist agency like NIA cannot operate alone.

Good old policing involving regular beats, informer networks, surveillance, collaborative intelligence, preventive arrests, investigation, preparing solid cases for prosecution, and securing quick convictions is an essential foundation of any State’s security apparatus. The foundation needs fit, competent, and dedicated police well equipped with hard and soft weapons (Information technology, Forensics etc.)


Our police forces present quite the opposite picture -that of corruption, sloth, and incompetence. They are ill equipped and undertrained. Their morale is low due to their cynical use by Congress Governments and those like Left, TMC, and SP governments for many decades for targeting political rivals.

In J&K, terrorists roam free and recruit people openly through social media. Punjab is lost to drugs. UP is forever on the edge of violence e.g. Muzaffarnagar riots and Kairana exodus. UP’s badlands are quite infamous. Bihar’s Goonda Raj of abductions and killings have found a permanent place in Bollywood movies. MP’s Vyapam scam has run through different governments. In West Bengal, there are factories of bomb making. A police station in Malda was attacked by a Muslim mob, and there have been a spate of political killings. In Haryana, the agitation for Jat reservations triggered well planned violence. In Maharashtra, Govind Pansare’s killers were at large for a long time and even now one is not sure if police can secure a conviction. In Karnataka, local police were clueless in the Kalburgi muder case. Kerala, like West Bengal has witnessed a spate of political killings of RSS workers.

The above are some of the well publicized cases.  In India’s cities, towns, and villages’ crimes like murders, rapes occur. Compared to these crimes traffic rule violations may seem minor but they claim a large number of lives across the country. Many of these crimes go unresolved. In many cases accused are let off either due to shoddy investigations or due to long judicial delays.

When convictions are secured they come after years in trial court followed by decades in appeals. Even major cases like Mumbai’s 26/11 terror attack, Serial Bomb Blasts and Parliament attack dragged on for decades. Lalu’s conviction in fodder scam and Jaya’s conviction in disproportionate assets case took decades and they are still work in progress. Coal scam and the 2G scam cases are meandering through our courts. The National Herald case with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as prime accused gets kicked around among by trial court and High Court and Supreme Court.  Our courts give long rope to terror and scam convicts, but they give short shrift to ordinary people.

With Crores of cases pending in our courts and Lakhs of poor helpless under-trials languishing in jails our Judicial system -beset with archaic procedures, stuck in feudal attitudes, and thoroughly gamed by vested interests -virtually allies with police to make the rule of law impossible.

Our mainstream media’s ‘objectivity’ and ‘responsible journalism’ is so legendary that special reports that document them month after month appear regularly (Read and see ). In our media, facts get chosen or ‘created’ based on agenda and every ‘editorial’ trick is used to give the ‘required’ slant to a ‘report’.  Boring reports are given a miss and they are replaced by juicy ‘stories’ suited to the owners’ political or business interests. Our media convert terrorists and secessionists into heroes. After Wani’s encounter and violence it triggered, PM Modi had to exhort media to desist from such behavior.

If police are ‘accountable’ to their political masters in the states, our Judiciary and Media are not accountable to anyone. All three remain unaccountable to the public good. Our media feeds on public cynicism about the rule of law and feeds into it through its lies. Police, Judiciary, and media constitute a deeply entrenched vicious circle.


How is this related to India’s security? In the eyes of common citizens, the rule of law is non-existent. There is no fear that when a law is broken consequences will follow swiftly and proportionately if one is backed by mafia, a political party or if one has right connections. Ordinary people know that they have to fend for themselves.

Whether it is rape by a juvenile or terror or drug running by hardened and indoctrinated people our media and some political parties peddle theories of ‘discrimination, atrocities by security forces, humiliation, lack of education, poverty etc.’ They take away our attention from the real cause.

Missing rule of law makes exploitation by private parties or by government officials attractive. A society bereft of a working law breeds cynicism. It provides every incentive to murder, rape, corruption, or terror.

Khalistani terror in Punjab was rooted out by a sustained and strong police action under K P S Gill, the then DGP of Punjab. A peace accord could work there because Indian State made its intentions clear and came down heavily on those indulging in violence. A similar approach is needed all over India.

While we see actions like terrorist Wani’s encounter and arrests by NIA,  no actions are seen for making police and policing effective. Agencies like CBI and ED (Enforcement Directorate) have still not improved. No actions are visible to make our Judiciary accountable to its performance. No actions are seen to make media accountable for reporting facts and keeping opinions separate.  Police, Judiciary, and Media are the chinks in Indian State’s armor. They keep us vulnerable to further terror attacks.