Nota just a symbolic act

With very few exceptions, politics no longer attracts the brightest and the cleanest. In an environment where we assume sab neta chor hain we opt for the least unattractive.

The names have begun trickling in and speculation is rife. The BJP has announced that former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, forced to step down after an indictment by the state lokayukta in a graft case, is its candidate from Shimoga. ‘Cruel joke’, responds the Congress but has no explanation for fielding Pawan Kumar Bansal (railway posts-for-cash) and Subodh Kant Sahay (coal block allocation) or even whether it will eventually axe Suresh Kalmadi (CWG) and Ashok Chavan (Adarsh).

Like the BJP, the Congress spokespeople take refuge in the argument: No conviction, yet. Like the Congress, the BJP says due process must be allowed and candidates are innocent until proven guilty. Continue reading “Nota just a symbolic act”

A ruinous law of omerta

Paid news undermines democracy. Yet, as a sting operation goes public, why aren’t we more concerned?

You didn’t need a survey to predict the reactions. As TV channel News Express broadcast a sting operation that showed as many as 11 polling agencies willing to tweak results for a price, the reactions by political parties played out to a script.

The Congress, which most surveys predict will be ousted in this year’s elections, reiterated its demand for a ban on polls. AAP wants regulation and transparency rather than a ban. And the BJP, at the top of poll predictions, raises the point: If you ban polls today, someone will want to ban political analysis and commentary tomorrow. Where does it stop? Continue reading “A ruinous law of omerta”

I will vote as a woman

Political parties are slowly realising that women constitute the largest vote-bank and they need to at least look concerned. But, dressed-up manifestos and sops like saris and pressure cookers won’t cut it any longer.

I am a woman. When I vote, I do not cast my ballot because my husband tells me to vote for a particular candidate or because my father-in-law wants me to vote for a certain party. I vote as an independent woman who asks her candidate: how are you going to make my constituency, my state, my country a better place for me and my daughters?

That is what my vote is worth.

I am one voice among half a billion voices of women who inhabit this country, guaranteed equal rights by the Constitution.

Continue reading “I will vote as a woman”

Narendra Modi should make real promises, solve real issues

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate should know that national pride lies in not wanting the world to look at India in admiration. It lies in making your country a better place for its citizens.

The man who hopes to be India’s next prime minister is talking about national pride. It will be built on the foundation of the world’s tallest statue, a statue of a man neglected by the Congress and now appropriated by its principal rival, the BJP.

When completed, the 182-metre high statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, built by melting iron pieces of used agricultural implements collected from farmers across seven lakh villages, will be twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and four times that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio.

Continue reading “Narendra Modi should make real promises, solve real issues”

The stage’s virtually set

Elections in India are not decided by Twitter trends or ‘likes’ on Facebook.

Thanks to Twitter, I’ve now learned a new word: Feku. Even as Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi addressed meetings in New Delhi, the first at the FICCI Ladies Organisation and the second at CNN-IBN’s Think India festival, the hashtag, ‘Feku’ (boaster, teller of tall tales) began trending on the social network site.

Feku came on the heels of another hashtag, Pappu (the closest English equivalent would be dolt, but feel free to correct me) that popped up as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi spoke to CII. Neither Modi nor Gandhi have declared their prime ministerial intentions. But that hasn’t stopped their supporters – and detractors – from launching a full-scale war on social media. It’s a battle that found reflection in mainstream media with Feku v Pappu as flavour of the day.

Continue reading “The stage’s virtually set”