ON JANUARY 1ST, 2014, when Arvind Kejriwal took oath of office as Chief Minister of Delhi from a bursting-at-the-seams Ramlila Maidan instead of Raj Bhavan with all his typical dramatic flourish, it was a historic moment for Indian democracy. We had a chief minister who used public transport to work and even to his swearing-in, … Continue reading Why Congress Wants to Fight the Lok Sabha Polls Alone from Delhi Sans AAP
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?
THE MOST STRIKING thing about Priyanka Vadra Gandhi is a cliché, but one that is true: that she resembles her much- revered, much-feared grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a politician who the late writer Gabriel García Márquez is said to have famously exclaimed about: “Madam Gandhi—what a combination of delicate femininity and sheer … Continue reading Enter Priyanka: Can She Save the Day for Rahul?
Sure, the Jodhpur-born two-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan (1998- 2003 and 2008-2013) has over time pulled off several magic-like tricks in politics that have helped him rein in rivals and rise rapidly in the party, especially in the 1970s and 1980s when Indira Gandhi and son Rajiv were party chiefs. Currently national general secretary of … Continue reading Ashok Gehlot: The Desert Fox
IT MAY NOT BE inappropriate to say that Navjot Singh Sidhu has a face behind the mask that he constantly tries to hide. Great comedians have talked about this professional dilemma. So have clowns and slapstick performers known for their frenetic pace. Sidhu perhaps fits into the last category, a sort of a Punjabi Jim … Continue reading Navjot Singh Sidhu: The Performer Unmasked
INSIDE UTTAR PRADESH’S Jaunpur town, not far from its landmark 16th century Shahi Bridge on the river Gomti, RK Maurya runs a teashop that sells hot samosas and excessively sweetened tea. He does brisk business, assisted by two young adults, and saves enough money to send his son to an English-medium school with the hope that the … Continue reading How Modi Tapped the Wrath of ‘Lower’ OBCs for Political Mileage
LIKE MOST OF his puritanical predecessors in the Stalinist confines of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is a reluctant conversationalist. His interactions with the media are always guarded. He belongs to a generation of Marxists taught to be tight-lipped about the goings-on of the party apparatus, unlike the CPM’s … Continue reading When Pinarayi Vijayan Put Sitaram Yechury in His Place
ON THE EVENING OF July 18th, Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu received a call from Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, who was in Kashmir at the time. It had been an emotional day for the 68-year-old parliamentarian. He had wept before his colleagues after formally stepping down from all political positions, including his primary membership of the … Continue reading M Venkaiah Naidu: A Friend and Loyalist
ONE FREEZING AFTERNOON in September 2015, I was fortunate enough to dine at the warm officers’ mess at Siachen base camp, one of the highest and most famous war zones in the world, where a lunch- time chat that started with Kashmiri cuisine drifted to books by Myra McDonald and Nitin Gokhale and then to … Continue reading Why the Politicisation of the Indian Military is Bad News for India