ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Are elections a myth? Curious case of Modi and Obama

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vote-1024x683.jpgIf you look back last 10 years, politicians across the globe have risen to power on the promise of change. Let’s take for example Obama in US and Modi in India. They both come from different ideologies (Left vs Right) but both won historic elections. While Obama became first African-American president of USA, Modi came to power with absolute majority after 30 years. Their elections were fueled by hope.

However much we admire the leaders, one cannot but feel a sense of underwhelm in their performances. Obama’s first term was hampered by the financial crises that was in the making from Clinton and Bush era. He never recovered from that. Most of the issues he ran for, he never got support from moderate democrats (even though his party was in majority in Congress as well as Senate), hence never able to implement his agenda completely. Not until late in his 2nd term when he started using Executive powers. Still he came to power with so much promise but left with little accomplishments.

Same goes for Modi. Although he has stemmed the flow of corruption in the Government. But there has been no substantive change in jobs, security and growth. People have gone scot free in 2G scam, which has put a big question mark on the Govt’s integrity. Call it political compulsions of continuous election cycle in India, he has but remain a pale shadow of himself. Demonetization failed to fulfill the political motives when 99% currency was returned to the banks. New financial scams and lack of improvement in law/order and judiciary has been a dampener for people who rid the Modi wave. With an year left in his term, he can no longer call himself a beacon of change.

Ever wondered why is this the case? Has our system become so rigid and pervasive that elections and regime change can’t make much difference? If we believe that intentions of Obama and Modi were good, it can be the only reasonable explanation. They both were the victim of the system that they intend to work with. Whatever change they promised was under duress to win the election, knowing fully well that they won’t be able to deliver on the tall promises.

I hope my depressing hypothesis is proven wrong. For it defeats the purpose of hope.

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Written by arpitgarg

April 5, 2018 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Political

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Modi and Kejriwal: A fresh perspective

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kej_modi.jpegGiven that Kejriwal’s image has taken a beating over last few months, not many people would like to take his name in the same vein as Modi’s. This is a far cry from couple of years back. Kejriwal’s supporters have struggled to understand why he is hounded if AAP cozies up with SP and RJD, while Modi is given a free pass when he closes up with same SP and RJD.

Here is where a fresh perspective is required. Modi was chosen to govern by people fed up of policy paralysis. Nothing was moving and Modi promised governance. He never was a messiah of propriety. Unlike Kejriwal who fought on probity and anti-corruption. It was always about governance for one and corruption for the other.

Governance can’t be judged short term and is hard to quantify. Corruption on the other hand is nakedly visible. Hence Kejriwal’s infractions are amplified compared to Modi’s. Modi is not judged if he hugs Lalu or attends marriage at Mulayam’s. But if Kejriwal does the same he is rightly hounded. Similarly, Kejriwal would be given a free pass on governance if only if it were that simple to measure.

Five years of Modi will be up soon and people will start judging governance. Kejriwal can hope for a redemption if Modi slips on that front.

Written by arpitgarg

March 15, 2018 at 9:27 am

Posted in Political

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Why so much attrition in the White House?

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AR-170729920.jpgI am not writing this from a partisan point of view and must be read in that spirit. There have been too many resignations and replacements in current White House administration. Lot has been attributed to President Trump and his reality show mindset. I beg to differ.

In light of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson getting replaced today, let’s try and assess the situation. As per reports Tillerson and Trump didn’t agree on Iran deal. While Trumps’ position on the deal is well known, Tillerson had an opposite view. Similar was the case with handling North Korea. And herein lies the real reason.

Most of the people who have left the White House or have been let go, they differed with President on matters about which Presidents position was widely known. And these people while accepting the job very well knew the policies that Trump campaigned for. Either they misled the President when they accepted the job on their own position or they remained quiet. Or President never asked them clearly.

Maybe they thought Trump will be a typical politician who will throw the campaign promises under the bus once elected.

Maybe it’s the President’s credibility issue. His appointees see him as an opportunist who didn’t mean what he campaigned for. And that they can impose their own ideologies.

With time President Trump will get smart and will appoint people who believe in him and his agenda (Good/Bad/Ugly). Sooner done the better. For so much upheaval does not augur well for the leader of the First World.

Written by arpitgarg

March 14, 2018 at 4:25 am

Posted in Political

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Why Pakoda failed while Chai won

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pakoda_chaiRecent remarks by BJP leaders that Pakoda seller be considered employed caused a stir in political circles. Opposition thought it found its Chaiwallah moment. Ever since Mani Shanker Iyer made the infamous remarks against Modi and his chai seller origins, BJP has been milking the issue (no pun intended) to its maximum. Rather than a CM aspiring to be PM, Modi used the chaiwallah barb and turned into a tea-seller aspiring to be PM. Rest is history.

Opposition latched onto Pakoda remark and thought to stick it to the leading party. But they have failed miserably and how. The sad part is they are still trying pakoda politics, not realizing the failure of the issue. This brings me to the question, Why Pakoda politics failed but Chai politics won?

Well, the answer is very simple. Chaiwallah barb denigrated tea sellers. It meant that chaiwallas can just sell tea and can’t become PM. While with Pakoda remark, leading party in a bid to justify low employment numbers said pakoda sellers should also be considered employed. Opposition retorted by saying BJP is creating pakoda selling jobs. Hence in turn ended up denigrating Pakoda sellers.

Chai wallah remarks hurt the aspirations of tea sellers. Pakoda remarks gave respect to the Pakoda sellers. While the agitation against Pakoda remarks ended up insulting pakoda sellers with modest earnings.
Not every issue is milkable.

Written by arpitgarg

March 7, 2018 at 8:47 am

Posted in Political

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Maldives doing an Indira Gandhi

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prisionerReading today about the emergency declared in Maldives by President Abdulla Yameen was sort of a déjà vu. If you think back to 1970’s, India was a similar country and Indira was a similar leader. She also declared emergency amidst a war on judiciary.

There is a sense of oneness when it comes to such autocratic leaders. They portray themselves to be strong but also as a victim. They claim that world is against them, everyone is conspiring and they alone are standing strong. It’s only they who stand between the glory and the peril of the nation.

To this date sycophants justify the emergency using highly imaginative reasons. I recall one theory. But for emergency, western intelligence agencies would have run riot and destroyed India. We would have been left as a radical land just like our neighbors. To keep the ‘imaginary’ adversaries out, Indira had to declare emergency.

Yameen is doing/will do the same. Opposition and courts are in cahoots with foreign powers who want to destroy the nation. Only he alone can save Maldives and its population. What else is new?

Maldives is a strategic partner to India and given the emergence of highly active China, India is forced not to make too much noise on the developing situation there. Ethical thing is to criticize Yameen’s actions and work with other countries to bring back normalcy in the country. Given that China will then side with Yameen, India seems helpless.

Since we have our own checkered past, who are we to preach anyways?

Written by arpitgarg

February 9, 2018 at 12:43 am

Posted in Political

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20 MLA’s disqualified: Immaturity doomed Kejriwal

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kejriwal-600x409I remember 2014 when Kejriwal broke news that Amit Shah was trying to poach AAP MLA’s in order to install BJP Govt in Delhi. There was huge outcry not just in Delhi but country at large. Kejriwal commanded huge level of trust. He was the first one to stop the Modi wave. 2015 Delhi election was the time when Kejriwal rivalled Modi in trustworthiness. How times have changed.

I kind of feel for Kejriwal because I understand the reasons behind. It stems from immaturity. I have personally lost a lot due to it. With age people expects a level of maturity from you. They give you some rope when you are young but it only goes so far. Post Anna movement, a daring Kejriwal was people’s favorite. He was the son every mother wanted.

With 67 MLA’s, he had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but he continued to delegate it to common man. Attacks after attacks on Modi were done to instigate people. It worked for some time but people were fed up after. His continued attacks were seemed as his immaturity. If Delhi CM had not powers, why did you want to get elected?

A mature person is expected to get things done. If only he would have been responsible. Being ambitious is not a crime. Wanting to come to power in Punjab was a reasonable target but the way AAP went about it was immature. In a diverse nation such as India, you have to earn the trust. And it takes time. Daily name calling did not help.

From being the chosen one, he has been relegated to a wasted potential and dreams unfulfilled. I still don’t think his intentions were wrong but what I feel does not matter. It’s the perception of immaturity that matters. It has wasted a lot of opportunities for me. I just hope AAP and Kejriwal wins back the trust. Believe me the path is not easy.

Written by arpitgarg

January 22, 2018 at 11:31 am

Posted in Political

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Political Discussion: Something people are avoiding

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avoidGiven that open discussion is the essence of democracy, it’s scary to find that people today avoid discussing about politics. I found it at the college campus at least. Given the polarized times we live in, it’s hardly surprising. Lack of discourse is something that makes the election results seem surprising and makes the society even more polarized.

It is the cardinal rule of human emotions, if we keep things pent up inside, they tend to blow up sooner or later. Same goes with discussion about politics.

Society has become so fractured that people have started living in their own silos. Everyone think his/her own beliefs are the absolute fact and others are wrong. For example, let’s compare a Hillary and a Trump supporter. There is so much hatred for each other that real issues and need for discussion goes out of the window.

Hillary is the evil or Trump is the devil. It’s either or with nothing in between. If we think rationally, we would realize it’s not practically possible. Each person Hillary or Trump will have mixed personality, some good, some bad with shades of grey.

But given the broken communications and deep hatred, no one is ready to discuss the details. People are only concerned about the headlines, which are binary. What newspaper you read, will decide what news you get. If you read CNN, you would feel that Trump is an abomination. If you watch Fox news, Hillary is the personification of Satan.

If the media is so polarized, then what would you expect of the common folks? It’s time for some open and honest discussion to make democracy strong. If Trump does something wrong, call him out and do the same with Clinton. If they do something good, that must be acknowledged too.

To begin with, people should boycott biased media such as CNN and Fox. Once they lose eyeballs, they lose everything. If we aim for balanced news, they discourse will become balanced.

Else the democracy is in peril and it is because we are running away from discussion.

Written by arpitgarg

January 19, 2018 at 3:16 am

Posted in Media, Political

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