PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL is dapper, sharp and warm. As I walk into his home in the sweltering heat of Chandigarh, soft drinks are served immediately, but the Congress veteran and former Union minister must leave for a function and a party meeting soon thereafter. Yet, he doesn’t sound one bit like a man in a … Continue reading Civic issues dominate the national poll debate in Chandigarh
Inside the Mind of the Indian Muslim Voter
KHALEED RASHEED FARANGI MAHLI, one of Lucknow’s prominent clerics, has a message for the people of his community this election: go out and vote in large numbers. Self-confessedly averse to interfering in politics, Farangi Mahli, a religious scholar of Farangi Mahal, an area near Chowk in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city that had in the past … Continue reading Inside the Mind of the Indian Muslim Voter
Rahul Gandhi: The Angry Debunker
ON APRIL 2ND, JUST BEFORE noon at 24 Akbar Road, headquarters of the Congress party in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi looked like a well-rested runner ready for an ultra-marathon. Except, he was not in sports gear, but a set of white, spotless kurta-pyjamas. But then, two years ago on a poll trail in Chotila, a temple-town … Continue reading Rahul Gandhi: The Angry Debunker
Will its Hindu revivalist past haunt West Bengal’s future?
DAILY-WAGE LABOURER Kinker Chandra Das from Kaikala village of Hooghly district in West Bengal is tight-lipped about his political affinities. The middle-aged man treats the question of whom he would vote for in the 2019 election as though it is a brutal assault on his privacy. He raises his eyebrows in disbelief. He isn’t ready … Continue reading Will its Hindu revivalist past haunt West Bengal’s future?
Why Congress Wants to Fight the Lok Sabha Polls Alone from Delhi Sans AAP
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
Eastern Uttar Pradesh: Will It Make or Break BJP in the 2019 Election?
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?
Enter Priyanka: Can She Save the Day for Rahul?
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?
Ashok Gehlot: The Desert Fox
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
Navjot Singh Sidhu: The Performer Unmasked
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