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

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‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

Gilles Verniers, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University and co-director at its Trivedi Centre for Political Data, spoke to Open's Executive Editor Ullekh NP on dominant ideas in India's 2019 election campaign. How attractive do you think is national security as a slogan (like corruption, dictatorial tendencies, etc) in an Indian election? National … Continue reading ‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

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?

How WhatsApp Is Changing Indian Politics

JENCY JACOB, MANAGING EDITOR, BOOM FACTCHECK, RECALLS THE DAY Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sharply attacked the opposition in the Lok Sabha for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “chor” (thief) over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. Jacob and his colleagues at their fact-checking firm joked that a “clipped video” of Sitharaman would soon go … Continue reading How WhatsApp Is Changing Indian Politics

BJP Hopes Reservations to Economically Weaker Sections Will Help Retain Its Core Vote Base

SENIOR DELHI-BASED LAWYER Indra Sawhney is amused that her name has become part of India’s legal lore and that a case she fought decades ago keeps coming up whenever there is any talk of affirmative action. “So long as there is a reservation system in the country, I am sure my name will keep surfacing,” … Continue reading BJP Hopes Reservations to Economically Weaker Sections Will Help Retain Its Core Vote Base

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018): The Beloved

On a deserted street outside Ahdoos Hotel in curfew-bound Srinagar on that distant afternoon of August 2016 from where I was heading towards Press Enclave, an elderly gentleman in a skullcap approached me, almost blocking my way, and began to talk animatedly in Hindi and English. He didn’t introduce himself, but I didn’t panic because … Continue reading Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018): The Beloved

WhatsApp Will Replace Facebook as the Online Battlefield in Elections 2019

DIVYA SPANDANA HAS fans requesting selfies with her wherever she goes. This actor-turned politician from Karnataka who now heads the social-media division of the Congress party obliges such entreaties as if by force of habit. When she sits back to chat, she says she is saddled with work, and it shows: in between sentences, she … Continue reading WhatsApp Will Replace Facebook as the Online Battlefield in Elections 2019