ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘modi

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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In Modi Era: What can opposition parties do?

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modi_opposition.jpgI was not born to witness the Nehru/Indira era when Congress got votes regardless of the performance. For good or for bad, I can’t say, but am seeing something similar with Modi. He is single handedly winning elections from Panchayat to Parliament. Opposition stands decimated. Barring a couple of states (that too don’t seem far off now), Modi wave has engulfed the entire country. Where does this leave the opposition parties?

At this moment, the national and to a large extent regional parties too are in disarray. I highly doubt that even a Bihar like alliance would even be able to save them. In my opinion, opposition should acknowledge that it’s Modi era and whatever they say/do; no one is ready to listen. You might recall Sharukh’s era from 1995-2010, when only Shahrukh’s movies were a hit and rest all came distant second. We are in a similar situation now.

If BJP wins MCD elections in Delhi, which I am highly confident they will, then opposition has no standing in electoral politics at least till 2024. If Modi can salvage BJP from the corrupt MCD rule of last 10 years then nothing can stop BJP from winning anywhere else. People trust him, simple.

Opposition parties should go back to their basics and work out a long term plan. They should take a leaf out of Nitish Kumar’s book and create a development image for themselves. They need something as radical as Sharab-bandi to fight Modi. It will be an image war. Freebies won’t do the trick now. They have to make their intent clear.

Opposition should stop electoral ambitions for next 5-7 years. Only then it can redeem itself. Trying to appease certain segments with freebies (as against sustainable development) won’t help in Modi era. He has combined majority politics with development plank and there is no stopping.
Go back to grass root. Get involved in social service, which was your primary aim.

Raise the issues of common man. And hope that Modi falters. I am afraid there is nothing more you can do.

Written by arpitgarg

April 22, 2017 at 1:53 am

Posted in Political

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How Kejriwal lost the plot

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kejriwal3.jpgI wrote about it earlier how Kejriwal got the tide wrong. He fought against Modi head-on who was riding the wave of great public support. As Kejriwal fought with Modi, he kept losing support; hence his fate in 2017.

Last 2 years or so, he has continued his tirade. As I mentioned earlier, people get tired of prolonged drama. Even if BJP was not letting him work in Delhi, continuous cries don’t work. People get fed up. Either find a way or quit. He has all the right to badmouth Modi, but given the support that Modi commands today, it’s a self-goal. AAP came out as an immature party, with no dent to Modi popularity.

He could have made a mark in Punjab, but got the calculations wrong. You don’t berate a popular leader, without repercussions. He should have fought against Badals and Congress, whom public dislikes and should have left Modi alone. Demonetization was another thing he miscalculated. He was the most vocal against the move and look where it got him. He should have highlighted the fumbled implementation rather than the intent of Modi. Voters like strong and decisive leaders, not cry-babies. Have you ever seen Modi cry about lack of Rajya Sabha support? He let people around him do that but he himself gives a vibe of not caring and finding a work around.

Hope Kejriwal and AAP learn their lesson. Modi is ‘once in a generation’ leader and nothing good with come out by fighting him directly. People supported you when you took on Jaitely and that’s the way to go. To outsmart Modi, you have to hurt his cronies. People love Modi but not so much people around him.

It’s still early days for Arvind and his party and hope they come stronger out of this. Congress has ceded the space of principal opposition party and for a healthy democracy we need a strong opposition leader. If you continue acting immature, people will find some other strong leader. Long live democracy!

Written by arpitgarg

March 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm

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UP results: Morality of Nation Vindicated

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modi_up.jpgI wrote about a day after Nov 8, how demonetization was a political master stroke from Modi and will increase his political capital. UP election has proved this and how. What makes me happier is that the morality of the nation has been vindicated. Let me explain what I mean.

The political parties who went to public against demonetization were banking on the immorality and corruption quotient of the citizens. I remember a joke from standup comedian Sunil Pal. He was playing a corrupt politician and was sure to win banking on the fact that 90% of us are corrupt and thus would choose someone who reflected their corruption. Same was the strategy of the major opposition parties, who missed the pulse of the nation. Nitish Kumar got it right and came out of the current cycle with his reputation intact.

Although literacy rate is not improving as fast we would have liked, but what we don’t realize is, a lot of officially illiterate people have access to smart phones and are becoming self-literate. They have easy access to what is happening in the country and abroad. This is unlike in the past when the information flow was limited only to big cities and privileged few. Today’s Rural India is as politically aware as Urban India and can appreciate an honest effort. It shows in the election results.

The onus is on Modi and BJP to realize the dream of 20 crore UP people. They can start by reforming police stations and restore the rule of law. Using his goodwill, Modi should attract industries and investment to the state which has been limited to Noida region only.

Politics is a cycle and we don’t know what holds 5 years down the line, but one thing people of UP have affirmed is, they are in a hurry. Modi would be aware of this and should be ready to play 20-20 and not a Test Match.

Written by arpitgarg

March 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm

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UP election 2017: Which side will the camel sit?

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up_election_2017.jpgUP election 2017 is a riddle which no political pundit wants to touch. This is unlike last 2 elections where BSP and SP were predicted to win respectively. Unlike the regular issues of caste and vikaas, demonetization (pro and against), hangover of successful religious polarization in 2014 general election, the Yadav family feud and Congress-SP alliance have muddled the already murky waters.

BSP was the clear favorite over BJP on ground, until SP-Congress alliance materialized and it makes more difference than some understand. Who will this alliance hurt more and can it turn into a winner by itself is a million dollar question. Depending on which channel you tune in to, predictions range from SP-Congress, BJP, BSP and hung assembly.

No political pundit (or political hack as some call them), is ready to put his/her reputation on the line by choosing a side before the count is done. I expect even the exit polls (when they come out) to be divided too.

The biggest setback of all time, BJP in 2014, is a major factor why predictors are wary. Also no one knows the effect of demonetization in rural areas. People want to say SP-Congress but they are afraid of Amit Shah the wizard. Alliance has relegated BSP to a second choice and spoilt their Muslim-Dalit strategy as against Muslim-Yadav-‘Leftover Congressi’ combine.

BJP has ceded a lot of political mileage since 2014, when Modi asked for votes on state election issues. With no substantial ‘acche din’ for people on ground, Akhilesh Yadav has been able to make BJP the incumbent party in the state. Instead of answering for last 5 years, he has been able to successfully question BJP about the good days promised. For BJP, just saying, ‘we didn’t have control on state issues’ might not be enough.

Early next month, results will come out and the riddle will stand solved all by itself. Till then, can you answer this billion dollar question? Which side will the camel sit?

Written by arpitgarg

February 23, 2017 at 1:21 am

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Media bias and why it is bad

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media_bias.jpgIndia had its first brush with power of media with Jessica Lal murder case. Govt. and Courts buckled under media pressure. Public supported the campaign whole heartedly. The case had all the ingredients of a pot boiler made for television. It garnered TRP’s and served justice. A win-win.

Media backed Anna Hazare who shook the roots of Indian politics and gave us Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal’s anti-political diatribe was tailor made for claps and whistles. People lapped it up (at least those who could afford cable television), resulting in a resounding win.

Last half decade or so Arnab Goswami took media activism to another level, equalling US journalists. In US, journalism is too bi-partisan. Two major political parties reflecting two differing ideologies have their own propagandist media apparatus. Last decade or so has given India the same. Media, which used to be a stronghold of Congress, got rivals in BJP. Today the field looks evenly distributed.

But the bias in media has turned out to be bad for society. To be true, it’s not just the bias, but the biased people earning millions and prospering is what irks common man more. It’s not mere coincidence that oldest and largest democracies are headed today by individuals who rode the anti-media wave. Modi called media news-traders, his people called them presstitutes. Trump has called media all sorts of names.

6-8 years back, in India, media was this promising child with high credibility. Currently, it’s credibility is as bad as that of US media. Biased towards one side or the other.

Earlier media used to shape the politicians and politics worldwide. Nowadays politicians shape opinions about media. Ironical isn’t it? In India it would be a first in modern times that PM and Govt has more credibility than media. And it’s scary. I’ll tell you why.

Media is one branch which has the power to keep the legislative in check. It talks directly with public and informs them if executive is doing anything wrong. And public does the rest in the next election. The loss of credibility of media will hit this balance hard. With corporatization of media, the problem is bound to get much worse. Media bias is the new form of crony capitalism and quid pro quo. Scratch my bacl and get favorable coverage.

Whatsapp, facebook and youtube channels have come up as alternate media. They berate main stream media just like I have been doing through this post. Some like the_young_turks have got a huge following and along with that subscription money. It was nice initially but as the current US election showed they too became biased and carried out their own propaganda.

It’s very important for media to curb political leanings. If media persons want to be political activists, it’s their right but they should quit the profession first. If they can’t curb this inherent bias, they should not go on air. Rise of fascism is preceded by a biased media!

Written by arpitgarg

November 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

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