IN BALLIA, KNOWN for its links to India’s freedom struggle and various melas, a strange morning ritual along narrow village roads stuns you. Men are seen taking their pigs out for a walk, waving canes, as if herding sheep that need to graze or walking dogs that must attend their call of nature. Here in the … Continue reading Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Will It Make or Break BJP in the 2019 Election?
PUNDITS HAVE BEGUN in right earnest to hang a phrase on the BJP’s stunning victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, gains in Manipur, and sharp tactics to retain power in Goa: an ‘Indira Gandhi moment’. While the BJP may resent comparisons with the late Congress leader, an astute politician who campaigned tirelessly and held sway … Continue reading There’s More to Moditva
ON THE MORNING OF February 27th, the gruff police officer who stopped our SUV some 10 km from Mau where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to address a huge rally, his 16th in the ongoing seven-phased elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, told me curtly that there was a threat on the BJP heavyweight’s life … Continue reading The War Modi Cannot Afford to Lose
VED SINGH GREETS you with a cautious smile, and in a show of restraint with a stranger, he twirls the right side of his mouth, just enough to differentiate a smile from a frown. He raises his eyebrows to ask about the purpose of our visit. Unlike many others in this relatively affluent village named … Continue reading UP Elections 2017: Fault Lines and False Notes
ON THE MORNING of January 16th, a day after his wife’s birthday celebrations, Akhilesh Yadav appears “downcast” to one of his suave ministers who called on the leader at his Lucknow residence. A senior editor who met him that day was also struck by the lack of “usual verve” in the man, who, at 43, … Continue reading UP Elections 2017: The Day of the Bicycle Prince
In 2012, shortly after he was named the chief ministerial candidate of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav reacted rather naively to comparisons with Rahul Gandhi whose popularity then had not fallen to the levels it has now. “If he is the prince of his family, I am that of my family,” … Continue reading Akhilesh Yadav: The Son Supremacy