Fixing the “slowdown”

To anyone seeking a masters degree in left propaganda yellow journalism, Indian “liberal” media and its constantly shifting narratives offer a practical course that no University can provide. That too free of charge! Pity they don’t issue a certificate upon completion.

You may recall the concerted campaign mounted hardly 6 months back about “manipulated statistics” & “cooked books” that made India’s GDP growth more than what it “really” was. Of course, it was all laid at the door of Narendra Modi who, we were told is doing this to hide his many failures. No amount of explanation by professional statisticians in the government (none of whom were appointed by this regime) mattered. While some genuine economists had genuine questions about changed methodology etc (which are never static), it was mostly propaganda noise by faithful media warriors of the left + Congress continuum that reached high decibels.

Now once the govt announced that growth slowed to 5.7% in the latest June 2017 quarter all this talk died down and vanished like a ghost. In its place another narrative – that India’s economy is in a “tailspin“. It is no one’s case that economic growth is doing fine but surely tailspin is not the most appropriate word for a rate of growth most developing countries will happily report? Apart from the tailspin narrative, it was all talk of gloom and doom and what Modi should or should not do to stop this free fall that was a product of his own miscalculation.

Arvind Panagariya, until recently Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog (whose departure created yet another wave of senseless speculation and innuendos), wrote a brilliant article for TOI advising caution and putting the numbers in perspective. All was not lost and there is no need for desperate measures. Other op-ed writers including the likes of Mihir Sharma who is not exactly Modi regime friendly echoed the same prescription (not to loosen purse strings at cost of fiscal stability) but of course differed on the cause and magnitude of the problem.

In this context what should be the “common sense” approach for the Modi sarkar? We summarise them below.

  1. There’s lots of low hanging fruit in the ‘ease of doing business’ department. Most of them do not need ANY legislative change, just mindset change. PM Modi should ask each of minister to abolish just 1 form or return each week. We have mentioned this earlier, but any SME that chooses to incorporates itself into a Pvt Ltd company files a lot more returns and faces tons of paper work that companies in Malaysia or Singapore don’t face at all.  Among other negative effects, this (plus various other reasons) forces Indian startups as well as established companies to setup holding companies there and raise funds in Singapore instead of India!
  2. A give and take approach to labour law reform. Unions can be asked to tick off reform measure they will approve happily in exchange for benefits and facilities that they need and is fair. Implementing incremental changes in India is lot easier and better than “boil the ocean” types that take decades. Not only that within existing bunch of labor laws one can be 400% sure, as Musharraf would say, there is scope for procedural simplifications, speed up of decision making etc that will keep things going and can make a major change.
  3. That brings us to the next topic – speed up the administration. We in India always think of constitution changes, major laws with draconian clauses etc to fix problems for which much simpler solutions are available. Even if a particular law or Act requires ten steps, where one would be adequate, there is NOTHING in any Act that says don’t do them fast and in fair manner! What is stopping successive regimes from simply cranking up the motor? It is here that Modi has, in our opinion, failed to make a major difference.
  4. To give a simple example, opening a restaurant in USA or Germany or even Singapore is not easy. It may require permits relating to Fire, Food safety, Workers welfare and safety, Building Code, Hours of business, Parking etc from many departments scattered over local, federal and state levels. But the key difference is, at each of these places, rules are transparent, fair, available and accessible and one doesn’t have to bribe desk after desk to move papers. So what is desirable and quicker? Amending or integrating 100 different laws (as our labor Ministry is trying to do) fighting through a thicket of resistance from entrenched babus and the ‘system’ or simply looking at implementation speed and fairness of process?
  5. Bypass the banking system to provide funds where it is really needed, perhaps through existing or dedicated development bank. This can be done for quick win projects that create jobs. Again quick to do while debates about who takes the hair cut and how much can go on for another 20 years in the regular banking system. In fact, there are even doubts if private businesses are keen to borrow and spend on capacity even if funds were available on demand until existing excess capacities are taken care of.
  6. Go easy on harsh and punitive measures particularly in relation to GST. The last thing that one wants is depressed sentiments and fear psychosis caused by overzealous and often corrupt bureaucrats raiding and destroying genuine businesses because there are “errors” in returns that no one understands. There is time and place for that kind of measures.
  7. Get more funds from rich friendly nations on soft terms like the one for bullet train project – but for spending on projects that create immediate jobs, kick start consumption and give booster shot to the economy without wasteful expenditure. Japan, Saudi/UAE (but not Beijing) and others that work on government to government levels and who have already promised cooperation are obvious targets. This is far better than borrowing domestically that crowds out others and pushes up rates.
  8. Go faster on reforms that stir the pot and send the right signals but do not bog down the entire government with lots of resistance. Air India is one good example. There are dozens more. Speed of action is of the essence here, without compromising on transparency. Extensive land reforms can wait for Term 2 for precisely same reason. Plus they don’t give results for five or more years. Correspondents of Financial Times and Washington Post do not vote in Indian elections.
  9. Fill up government posts where new recruits are put to productive use. This not only makes electoral sense but is also eminently do-able given the shortfall in many critical areas. Delivery and governance are suffering even as excess staff who cannot be re-trained or re-deployed act as drag elsewhere.

Hope the next few months are full of action that will show results by early 2018 because it may be too late if results come too close to 2019 May. Just check with A B Vajpayee!




Smart Prohibition for Bihar – a suggestion

Nitish Kumar imposed prohibition on Bihar soon after taking power. To be fair to him, most Indian political parties have dabbled with this silly concept. Some like hypocritical megalomaniac Kejriwal promise one in Punjab but increase liquor outlets in states they rule!

But Bihar’s laws are draconian including horrendous provisions like punishing entire families for liquor found, sometimes entire villages. Fines and penalties are so high even rapes and murders are less taxing. Even in best ruled countries this only leads to corruption. In Indian context, even in best managed states it will open doors to horrible corruption. In Bihar it leads to mayhem.

The arguments in favor are silly. Productivity gains, health gains, “family peace”, increased spending on household expenses are all pushed as miracle gains from prohibition. All are based on dubious statistics. Productivity in Asian societies that share similar cultural DNA like India – Thailand, Malaysia etc are far higher and they are not killing each other or beating wives. We cannot compare ourselves to oil rich Arab states that will have foreigners lining up for its wealth even if they slap each visitor at the immigration. We are bench-marked with our near neighbours.

In fact, Bihar cannot even compare itself to richer, more developed states like Gujarat and say why not us. It is a laggard and it has to run faster, try harder to attract jobs, investments.

Unless country-wide prohibition is imposed, something that will render India a Talibanic pariah state that no sensible investor will visit, it also means Bihar ends up losing investment, jobs and reinforces image as lawless poor state.

Ironically, booze continues to flow to those that are most harmed by moonshine – the poor. And cops get richer. Many die horrible deaths or go blind due to methyl alcohol and other poisons. But a responsible, decent citizen or tourist or visitor cannot have a chill glass of beer after a tired day at work.

Even if the policemen and officials are not corrupt, they spend inordinate amount of time implementing these draconian laws under pain of being punished themselves by whimsical politicians. Time that is better spent bringing Bihar up to par with rest of the country and India comparable to rest of Asia.

This is the net effect of prohibition.

But as a CM, Nitish has to protect vulnerable women, even if they are not a vote bank. And it is true that many Indian working class men, particularly in countryside, spend bulk of their daily wages on booze and return home drunk to beat wives and deprive children of decent food and education.

Is there a mid-way?

Yes. That is where technology comes in. Why not Aadhar backed record for each liquor purchase?

Once implemented, this can track excessive liquor spend and let state as well as NGOs and others focus on where the trouble is. If someone spends too much on booze he can be asked to account for the income.

Ban orders can be imposed on any individual with police record of domestic violence or abusive behaviour after drinks. Family (wife) can seek ban orders with sufficient evidence. In fact a similar system exists in Singapore for casino gambling. We could not do with without individual identity system and now Aadhar enables that. That and technology that is cheaper and easier to acquire.

Drunk driving should be punished so severely that it should not be an option for anyone other than suicidal maniacs. Because this is murder.

You may say people may still drink moonshine. Yes. But moonshine becomes unprofitable when official market exists for liquor that attracts 90% of genuine responsible drinkers. They will shut down or go down in number.

You may say people can cheat (buy on others’ Aadhar card etc) but such people are also the ones that drink excessive or misbehave in all likelihood, so they can be trapped and punished for their actions.

Please do consider this.






Beware of Nitish Kumar

So it has finally happened. Nitish Kumar has ditched Lalloo and joined forces with BJP again. Whether or not that means formal NDA re-admission remains to be seen, especially outside of Bihar.

But is this good news? If one were to go by despondent articles & tweets by dynasty’s loyal media servants (aka secular, progressive liberals) it seems their chances of enjoying happy days of UPA loot when money & “investments” flowed like water, awards and gigs were for the asking are slimmer.

But we don’t agree it is all good news for BJP. Why? Before we get there, let us talk a bit more about the development itself:

No one believes his Lalloo/Tejaswi-corrupt-refuses-to-resign script. That has been known for years now. They did not turn corrupt yesterday. Interestingly all those journalists like Siddharth Varadarajan take special pains NOT to talk about the corruption at all as if that is blasphemy. No picture so palatial malls, mansions & petrol bunks.

The entire “liberal” media focus is, instead, on “scripted show”, “BJP gains”, “blow to secularism” and other topics all of which were emphasised to avoid discussing the elephant in the room – Shameless plunder and enrichment of self & family by LPY. Mind you, this is well beyond the usual fund raising for elections & enjoying free plane trips which everyone does.

It was as if corruption is a necessary price to pay for “secularism” whatever that means. And we all know the Stalinist left’s definition of “secularism” – rabid anti-Hindu venom, support for jihadi terrorism, Islamist fascism.

We even had this pathetic tweet by so called independent journalist Wagle which is what you would expect from a low level sycophant of the dynasty like Aiyar or Jha. As if only BJP created the problems listed & it was a land of milk and honey otherwise.

No doubt this is a blow for Congress and Rahul Gandhi. And to the Marxists who were hoping for UPA3 to give them power without responsibility ala UPA1.

It is also a serious blow to Arvind Kejriwal – a man corrupt yellow media elites dropped like hot potato after hoisting him sky high with lots of hopes. Again they were licking palms in anticipation of his quick rise to power and Wapsi of awards and rewards to the “Idea of India” left brigade. Kejriwal’s bride aka anti-corruption plank hijacked twice – once by Modi and now by Nitish!

But let us come back to the main point of this article. Does this benefit BJP? The answer is not so clear. That’s why we say

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
  1. Nitish is trying to embed and carve out his image of anti-corruption crusader. Not just in Bihar (where he doesn’t really need that, even in 2019 or 2020) but nation wide. That plus the anti-liquor goody goody image are his only USPs. The second one is actually a crowded field with too many anti-liquor contenders.
  2. This can come back to bite the BJP if he plays his self serving cards again like he did on 25th July. For example, he could pick a random case of “corruption” in NDA cabinet in the Center or in one of the states. And quit over it no matter if charge is fake or real, when he feels jumping back to Congress or Lalloo bandwagon makes more sense for him!
  3. What can the BJP do in that case? After all, they have also certified his anti-corruption image? Yes they can sacrifice that particular minister but that will only feed the fire, not quench it.
  4. He could also become another Shatrughan or Yashwanth Sinha –  relentless headline seeking sniper from within. Modi cannot ask him to get out and have him play the anti-corruption + martyr card. The media would have a field day.
  5. Of course, Nitish Kumar’s credibility will fall even further should he ditch Modi & BJP once again on flimsy grounds. Or for that matter his credibility is so low & he is seen as a political chameleon by so many that his very endorsement of an issue may reduce it to a farce even if genuine! That is probably what Modi & Shah duo are hoping?
  6. BJP will probably have to kiss goodbye to winning Bihar on its own steam in 2020 and on top of that sacrifice LS seats in 2019. If the south does not make up for inevitable losses in the North (after all you cannot do better than 100%), then he becomes even more of a risk post 2019.
Can Nitish be a force for the good?

No doubt we have all turned cynics perhaps by the way politics works in India. But then there are possibilities of this alliance working for India’s and NDA’s good. How?

  1. Nitish can blunt the anti-Muslim edge of BJP and perhaps force some sort of mutual rapprochement. His counsel, both public and private could be valuable if only BJP seeks it out and follows them. This can only be good for the nation. After all, once Muslims (or substantial chunks of them) are convinced Modi / BJP are not the demons they are made out to be, especially if you vote for them, lots of other things will change for the better.
  2. He can also bring economic pragmatism and right of center reform credibility to the cabinet which is short of talent. Of course, he cannot join it himself but can pick good men to represent him and guide them if JD(U) were to join the Union cabinet.
  3. He can reduce BJPs paranoia over inevitable losses in the Hindi heartland and in that process moderate some of their more polarising tactics to entrench Hindu support. Again it can only be for the good of everyone.
Why did he do it?

Let us finally turn to the question we should have addressed first – why did he do it? Certainly the Tejaswi drama is a smokescreen. What gives?

IOHO, it is the realisation that the best he can hope for is to be another Gujral or Gowda in 2019. A pitiable existence no proud, sensible leader with self respect would want. And the more realistic prospect is loss in 2019 + 2020. And the worst case scenario of dynasty + Lalloo dumping him mid way so they can build more malls without any let or hindrance.

Comments welcome!


Amazing power of anti-Modi track record

We have heard of mythical herbs that can bring the dead back to life and cure the incurable.

But have you seen them in working like magic with your own eyes in the modern world?!

Yes there is! Once you accumulate enough points, like frequent flyer miles or credit card spend, you become immune to anything.

No sections of the Indian Penal Code or moral code will apply to you! Incompetence is no barrier to lifelong well paid jobs!

That’s the magic power of anti-Modi track record.


We know how liberal poster boy Tarun Tejpal tried to dub his roaming fingers molesting a poor young journalist in a lift as “BJP conspiracy”. And therefore he should be allowed to “lacerate himself” in some nice bar over a cool beer instead of going to jail for attempted rape

We also know Lalloo Prasad Yadav and his family becoming magical millionaires owning flashy malls, petrol stations and other property calling their prosecution “fascist attempts to stop him”

Now we have leftist journalist Nikhil Wagle who spends all his waking hours attacking BJP & Modi claiming he has been booted out for his “fighting journalism”. The truth appears to be more prosaic – incompetence and the inability to attract audience, a must for any aspiring anchor or journalist!

Of course we have the Paranjoy Guha Thakurta going around telling us he has been thrown out of EPW for his daring to question Adani, who is supposedly “close” to Modi (although like most businessmen Adani is no fool and is also close to Marxists and Congress – just see how he was received in Kerala).

Oddly enough the team that threw him out are also died in the wool hardcore leftists. Or they would not have gotten into EPW management in the first place!

So a bunch of leftists throwing out a fellow traveler for writing an article that reads more like propaganda hit job than “investigative journalism” is also blamed on Modi, BJP and the mysterious “stifling climate for dissent” One that sees new media startups blossoming almost each week, most of them spending 80% of the time attacking Modi. And the other 20% loudly complaining they are not allowed to criticise him!

So here is your clue – if you are planning anything interesting – be it petty misdemeanor, incompetence on the job or full fledged rapes, loot, dacoity and anything else under the sun, be smart, try build up a anti-Modi track record.

The entire “liberal, progressive” cabal will jump to your rescue!



Cattle trade notification controversy

Once again Modi Government finds itself amidst a media storm caused by the so-called “beef ban circular”. No amount of protestations that it is a animal welfare move and not against beef consumption is going to convince our liberal brigades who rush from beef eating contests to TV studio debates without a pause for thought.

Naturally as with all other such controversies, overseas (that is, Western) media will lap it all up & project India (and Hindus) as intolerant and backward. Never mind that horse meat and other such delicacies are banned in several of their states.

Now we are hearing that center has “open mind” on the issue and it is not a prestige issue for the BJP. That begs a question- what was done prior to this notification?

Amending the notification or even cancelling it now will not bring any relief because not only is the damage done, any rollback will be seen as “victory” to the barbarians of Sonia Gandhi’s Congress Party that brutally slaughtered a calf in full public view, including several young children in Kerala.

In most matters, be it Corporate, Legal, Academic or cultural our bureaucrats have developed this “shoot first and ask questions later” culture. Ministers and political parties invariably fall victim to this syndrome.

But then, it does seem (as per this article) the notification was posted in draft form in public domain but then no one took notice.  Interestingly, the original source quoted by the article not only makes no mention of the “beef ban” aspect, it also includes a quote from a NGO representative praising it! We are not clear if the original draft is exactly same as the one notified or if it was amended later without full debate.

But then our babus and their bosses in the government should be smart enough (by now at least) to the inherent controversy potential of this notification? Should they not have given it much wider publicity or done something to float trial balloons? After all we have TV channels ready to trade favors with the party in power to help in such matters?! In fact even a rumor can be planted & floated that beef consumption is likely to be banned triggering a lot of pseudo liberal outrage before “clarification” about the draft issued, saving everyone a lot of face! Babus, learn to be smart!

Simply publishing in a website may be OK for some cases but there is no harm in sending email notifications to trade associations and their members such as Leather exporters etc. Does it cost a lot? After all the importance of this to their business is no secret.

This is also where proactive communication by senior ministers could have helped. If Dr. Harsh Vardhan had given some media interviews about the draft, invited comments (and brickbats) BEFORE it was made final, may be we could have avoided this?

One hopes the BJP government has learned valuable lessons in PR from this episode.


Turkish delight from Erdogan on Kashmir

Just prior to his recent India visit, Turkish strongman Erdogan, fresh from his referendum “victory” threw a curve ball at India – he offered himself (and Turkey) as mediator to help address the Kashmir issue.

Reactions have been varied. Wire columnist  thought Erdogan was reiterating his Islamist credentials in doing so. Hindu too was somewhat circumspect and didn’t seem to really like Erdogan’s meddling.

Prime Minister meets Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey at Hyderabad House during his State Visit to India (May 01, 2017)

Thankfully India’s reaction was mature and subdued. Instead of the usual theatrics whenever someone mentions the K word. That is a great start.

But what about the offer itself? Does it deserve rejection outright? Or worth analysing?

May not be a bad idea

Firstly, let us completely stay clear of Erdogan’s controversial and authoritarian track record and Islamist credentials. They are matters entirely irrelevant to this discussion.  Fact is he represents Turkey and will do so for another 10 years in all probability. Nothing else matters.

If anything that makes it easier for him to play a role.

Let us take a step back and see what options do we have to bring the Kashmir situation to a satisfactory conclusion?

  1. Wait it out. Let time be the medicine, increasing the gap between Pakistan and India in economic and strategic terms and wait for better sense to prevail so settlement can be on our terms or near about.
  2. Physical force. That is clearly out of question unless the provocation is strong enough to make it inevitable.
  3. Settle through talks in the short/medium term with the contours of the settlement along known lines – i.e., keep our part of Kashmir, give up on POK with some arrangement that saves everyone’s face.

Clearly the fourth option of simply giving up on Kashmir and settle on terms agreeable to present Pakistani dispensation is clearly not on the table. Unless again, it is forced by circumstances beyond our control.

Coming to the third option, it should be clear to us, given the nuclear situation, we simply don’t have the means to enforce anything on Pakistan.

Any agreement signed with the Pakistani civilian dispensation is not worth the paper it is printed on. Even if it were to be openly endorsed by the Pakistani military it is in all probability a “taqiya” which will be torn up at the earliest chance. Then we are back to square 1. Furthermore, Pakistani Army will simply take that as confirmation of its “success” and simply expand its shopping list. For all is military might and economic clout, $30b and three decades later Uncle Sam is still happily writing cheques and getting cuckolded. Do we stand better chance?

This is where a third party comes in provided it fulfills main criteria

  1. It has power to enforce any agreement. That power need not be economic or military, it can be religious.
  2. It is not totally biased against us, the best we can hope for, given that there is no such thing as “neutral” in global power politics.

Why Turkey?

Pakistan WILL NOT listen to USA because it has perfected the art of fooling them over multiple administrations and in any case that is a hard sell to the Abdul in the street. After all it is a kuffar power not exactly popular in the streets of Lahore.

Pakistan MAY listen to KSA for religious and monetary reasons but then KSA sheiks are beholden to the Pakistani generals to protect their own crumbling edifice. They make poor mediators.

Pakistan WILL listen to China but then China is just about the most biased and untrustworthy mediator one can find. Not even Modi can go the public and sell a plan brokered by China, except perhaps in Alimuddin Street and JNU.

Any other global power is completely worthless in this context. UK? France? You must be joking. Russia? May be 40 years back, not now.

That brings us to Turkey.

Turkey is a Sunni power and under Erdogan it has shifted away from its European identity to its Islamic roots. Just as Pakistan tried to wash away its South Asian roots and claim Arab, Turkish or Persian heritage, depending on season.

Which means if Turkey underwrites any agreement, it is easier for the Pakistani regime to “sell” it to its Abduls.

Moreover, we simply don’t believe Erdogan is anti-India. He may be pro Pakistan for religious reasons but that is to be expected. After all the so-called secular, anti-Islamist Army led regimes of Turkey were pro Pakistani too. His flexible and somewhat reasonable stance on Israel is a pointer.

That goes for much of the so-called “Ummah” too. Contrary to arms selling super powers like USA and Europe who probably want the conflict prolonged as it comes with bonus of keeping India in check, the Sunni Muslim world has nothing to gain by this conflict and even less to gain if Pakistan were to somehow by some miracle succeed in snatching Kashmir away. After all, at best this can only be done to the valley, not Jammu or Ladakh. Which only makes them even smaller minority in India in addition to permanently antagonising India forever. It also weakens India’s huge Muslim community.

Which is also why other than routine boilerplate template noises at OIC which no one takes seriously, there has not been that much pressure on India to settle at Pakistan’s terms. This is only going to get better from India’s perspective as oil’s importance weakens along with that Middle East’s.

Interestingly, China which shares US/European vested interest in keeping India in check through such conflicts is slowly coming around to the idea that it is a strategy that will harm them more than it does India. The CPEC investments will go down the drain not to speak of export trade that hugely favors China. Again this will get better over time as India buys & integrates even more into the Chinese economy, political tensions notwithstanding.

Badly bruised in the Syrian affair, his reputation in tatters globally, with too many contenders for the mythical Caliph role within the Sunni Muslim Ummah, Erdogan may use Kashmir role to buttress his own credentials and to do so he knows he has to be reasonable with India’s position. A failure will only make him an even bigger laughing stock.


But then as we noted earlier, Pakistan has successfully fooled generations of US Presidents. It has nothing to fear from China. Russia too is embracing every loony or reckless state it can find, simply to cock a snook at Uncle Sam.

So we still cannot rule out the fact that Pakistan will use Turkey to draw up some settlement and then renege on its commitment. After all, Turkey hardly has any trade, economic or military levers on Pakistan to pull.

So that means there is a narrow set of circumstances and conditions that has to be met before India can publicly embrace this option:

  1. The broad contours of agreement are drawn up bilaterally using Track 2 or Track 3 channels.
  2. Our own Kashmiri “separatists” are on board.
  3. We know at least on paper the jihadi generals are on board.
  4. China is behind the idea.
  5. KSA has been sounded out.
  6. The Pakistani civilian regime simply wants Islamic rubber stamp on the deal to sell it to its beards. As ex-Ottoman state that once had moral authority over global Sunni Muslims, Turkey still has that goodwill. This is where Erdogan’s strong Islamist credentials help. Any deal will involve compromises and the beards may go ballistic with “Islam in danger” noise and that can be mitigated.
  7. We have clear well defined Plan B in place to deal with any betrayals, expansion of agendas and the like.

Clearly the first 5 items on the agenda will have to be done behind the scenes and bilaterally and only if successfully done can we openly get Turkey /Erdogan involved publicly. That is a big IF.

Because once we cross the rubicon of involving third parties formally, there is no going back.

For now it is best to counsel Erdogan to counsel Pakistan to start behaving and start talking behind the scenes.











UP results – conclusions and warnings

The dust has settled and the results are in. Modi has won. Period. Amen. Despite the setbacks in Goa and the more anticipated defeat in Punjab, there can be no two opinions on who the winner is.

What are the conclusions we can draw & more importantly, what are the warning signals from voters?  Spoiler alert! We are not even going to talk about Rahul Gandhi!

No. 1: The complete decimation of Arvind Kejriwal – at least for the foreseeable future.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now. It is not that Kejriwal has changed. He has always been what he is – foul mouthed, prone to irrational exaggerations and conspiracy theories, megalomaniac and ambitious. And totally unfit to govern. It is just that the scales have fallen off  the eyes of too many, both at volunteer level and voter level. Of course, Delhi media was still rooting for him (more on that in the next point).

If you go back to 2012 or 2013, amidst the stench of dynastic loot, plunder and scams, he was a whiff of fresh air, the knight in shining armour, the messiah. Bankers, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and other well meaning citizens were leaving well paid jobs and careers to be part of the “movement”. To clean India, to bring a new style of politics.

Just that they have finally realised, Kejriwal is not the man to do that. They never signed up to become another Mani Shankar Aiyar or Ambika Soni, loyal boot licking servants of one family whose only ambition is to come to power at any cost. They never wanted the irrational negative politics, fake conspiracy theories and brazen lies, embrace of jihadi terror and fanaticism in the name of secularism, compromises with corruption, business-as-usual style of politics, misuse of state funds for electoral advertisements, excessive power in one person’s hands, coteries of sycophants and vicious suppression of dissent and independent thought. In other words they did not want another Gandhi dynasty.

But then that is exactly what they got with Kejriwal and they left in droves. Now people are doing the same.

It is highly unlikely he can pick up the pieces again given the eccentricity hard-wired into his persona. Certainly not before 2019. Goa proved that beyond doubt. 50k odd votes about half what often loony and non serious (like the Party of Stark-raving-mad kind that show up in UK elections) independents secured! His irrational rant over EVMs that goes totally against the instincts of his target audience – young, tech savvy, educated Indians seeking fortunes in globalised world – show clearly where he is headed.

No. 2: Delhi fake liberal media loses whatever little credibility it had to start with

The bias and agenda driven reporting was always there. But the scale was certainly mind boggling even by Indian standards. After their Bihar success, the media lynch mob finally saw a golden chance to bury NaMo so deep into the ground, he simply had no chance in 2019. UPA III, the happy days of loot, plunder and “sharing and caring” in the form of dubious “investments” from moneybags favored by corrupt rulers, can come back. You could almost see them licking their hands in anticipation.

The wall to wall coverage given to “failure” of Gujarat model where every pothole and unpainted wall was projected as “proof” gave way to blanket coverage of Akhilesh’s “development record” – all based on one highway project! The same highway, if done by NDA would have had our liberal hearts bleeding over lost farms, livelihoods, land acquisitions etc.

No discussions on infant mortality, pathetic state of hospitals and schools etc that keep our liberals worried were ever allowed to raise their head. The depravity of UP was swept under the carpet once he signed up with Rahul Gandhi’s Congress (and to the Marxist agendas). Certificates of “new generation” politics were liberally issued despite his “minor 10%” differences over candidates with his allegedly thuggish, casteist father and Uncles (who were secular heroes not too long ago).

The hypocrisy was astounding too. Even as his online rag Wire was ranting against allegedly biased media predicting Modi victory, M K Venu was going ga-ga about Dimple Yadav’s connect with the people!

Saba Naqvi was predicting a AAP sweep of Punjab even as she was questioning objectivity of anyone predicting BJP win in UP!

“Project Akhilesh” – to project Akhilesh Yadav as a newly minted popular leader loved by all, caste bias free (yet magically retaining his Yadav base) and a serious challenger to Modi’s development mantra, even his PM chair, yet humble enough to let Rahul occupy it, failed big time. Economic Times almost ran a parallel campaign devoting pages after pages to anti-Modi rhetoric and Yadav sycophancy.

His pathetic record of thuggery, crime, corruption and failures over five years of mis-rule was totally ignored by corrupt yellow media focused on Modi’s alleged shortcomings during his 2 year run. People of course, saw it through. Interestingly after elections were over, the very same media gave the very same misrule as one of the reasons for the defeat. Something they clearly missed prior to the vote count!

No. 3: It is too early to call 2019

Some media servants of Janpath have now started giving up on 2019 – Modi is being handed outright victory on a platter.

But this again is poisoned chalice. BJP and Modi would do well to simply ignore these predictions and focus on the job.

Because the media elite handing out these premature victory awards are doing it not with any joy or acceptance of Modi’s hard work and connect with people but in frustration, sorrow and tears over the decimation of the corrupt cabal that kept them well fed.

Seriously speaking, 2019 is still too early to call simply because India is too complicated and anything can happen. Voters in national polls vote based on regional and local allegiances as Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerji and JJ’s sweep of their states showed.  Three term anti-incumbency in MP and Gujarat may still lurk below the ground. BJPs 100% sweep in so many cow belt states may yet turn out hard to replicate. After all, there is only one way to go from winning all the seats.

Considering all this, BJP should, at least ask its own leaders to be very very careful in what they say, certainly not be fooled by corrupt media’s foolish predictions and left handed compliments.

No. 4: Speed up

The right way for Modi and his government to read this would be to see it as a call to step on the gas. People want faster and faster results, development, visible progress, rescue from the morass and swamp and don’t care about the caste or religion of the person delivering it.

After GST is through, Modi should speed up on various other reform agenda items. Sell off BSNL, Air India and other sinkholes that suck people’s tax money to fund well paid parasites. Here he should take on left’s nonsensical propaganda head on and show the Indian poor how they are carrying the parasitic PSUs and their arrogant staff in palanquins and get very little for their back breaking work.

He should roll back useless forms, returns, registers, approvals, certificates and other such remnants of 50s socialism that make life difficult for small businesses and tilt the scale in favor of imports. Here his record has been quite slow to be frank. A lot of Congress era shackles remain in the books, fiercely defended by the corrupt bureaucracy who see them as cash generating franchises. Here again he can take the left head on by comparing with China.

No. 5: Don’t write off caste based parties

If caste was the loser in 2017, it is not down and out yet. The casteist parties have not disappeared, still get 20% or more in votes and much higher percentages of votes from their own groups. As JD(S) in Karantaka shows, it is hard to get rural masses to vote truly on merit, ignoring caste even though a leader of Modi’s calibre can cut through in his appeal.

Modi would ignore caste at his peril as it can rear an ugly head anytime. Solution? Rock solid governance that delivers to all – ie. simply implement the “sub-ka-saath” agenda sincerely and effectively.

No. 6: BJP needs more Modis.

Clearly the bench is light. Only Parikkar, who was doing a great job in defense, could do for Goa and UP may rob another good senior minister from the center. Alternatively the huge gaps in Union Cabinet may have to be filled by airlifting a capable & performing Chief Minister, leaving a hole there in exchange.

Talent is hard to get, even for a party like BJP where you can rise to the top from the very bottom. It takes decades in power to develop that depth of talent but Modi has to get started now so that BJP can reap the rewards in five, ten years time in trickles. To solve short term issues some capable youngsters may have to be given over-sized charges, a risky gamble but one that may pay off well like in Maharashtra with Fadnavis.


Sasikala and Sonia

Let us come to the main point of this article right away: Why this discrimination? Why do our elite media warriors who suck up to the Mainos in Delhi thumb noses at V K Sasikala in Chennai?

In what way are they different?

Is one super duper educated sophisticated PM-grade leader only because of her skin? If it is not a sin for a former barmaid to actually run nation from behind scenes as “super PM”, is it wrong for a simple businesswoman from the provinces to do the same at state level?

Is keeping low profile, giving carefully choreographed interviews to even more carefully selected corrupt media propaganda agents aka “liberal journalists” OK for Madame but not for VKS? Why this derision?

Is involving all & sundry from family in politics alright for Congress but not for ADMK?

Is it OK for Robert Vadra to come out of nowhere and become “crorepathi” overnight thanks to his “connections” but not for Dinakaran and assorted nephews of VKS? And we are supposed to believe that only one of them is a natural born business whizzkid and the other is corrupt?

We have lost count of the number of “re-launch” and reinvigorated Rahul Gandhis that media helped launch in the past ten years or so, but will same chance be given to Sasikala’s kin?

Turning MGR/JJ’s ADMK into a “family property” is sin, but turning Gandhi’s Congress into a dynastic property is OK?

The list goes on..but you get the point!

Let us also make one thing clear – we are holding no brief for VKS, nor do we like to see her anywhere near power, but the hypocrisy and selective outrage of our corrupt elites is stupefying!




Media spin on Akhilesh Yadav and the pariWAR

For the past few years, the “Modi cannot, should not, will not win” left “liberal” cabal has been searching for a suitable white knight to come riding to their rescue. After high hopes placed on Kejriwal turned out to be dud investment, the search is still on. The main messiah, Rahul Gandhi continues to move from one gaffe to another, keeping even in staunchest advocates scrambling for justifications and explanations.

In the meantime, Narendra Modi has taken control and the elaborate system of patronage and privilege setup over decades is unraveling at rapid pace. Give him another five years the famine would become unbearable.

Now it appears Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, described by its own well wishers as one of musclemen, has become the latest messiah. His qualification? Unlike his pop Mulayam, he doesn’t want the Prime Minister chair for himself, happy to leave that for Rahul Gandhi to chase in exchange for another five years in Lucknow throne. Demonetisation too has given them a lot of hopes. As Smita Gupta puts it in Hindu, it presents an “opportunity“, never mind the deaths in queue our liberals were shedding copious tears on.

So the prospect of happy of days of 2004 returning has our left media warriors salivating and licking their palms in anticipation. For sure Rahul will need Alimuddin’s support and approval to function so it can be back to the glory days of UPA 1. One can bet lobbying has already begun for NIC memberships, “research” positions, grants and ambassadorships and of course fresh “investments” by the likes of Naveen Jindal in their magazines and ventures.

The latest skirmish in the disgusting family quarrel dubbed “pariwar” has resulted in articles, op-eds and tweets bordering on bizarre and ridiculous. The goal appears to be to paint Akhilesh Yadav as the new-age messiah, untainted by all his years with his “muscleman” father and his gang of lathi wielding thugs and caste warriors. In the process the hope is that a grand “alliance” of Congress and SP will grab power and set the stage for Congress to return to power at the Center in 2019 no doubt propped up by the left and likes of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Let Kejriwal eat cake!

Two things are abundantly clear – One, NONE of these liberal stalwarts have anything worthwhile to say on Akhilesh Yadav’s five years in power and secondly none of the familiar noise about deprivation, poverty and marginalised subalterns is going to come in the way of singing the praise of new-age messiah of high-tech future.

Swait Chaturvedi writing for NDTV makes clear she is not even going to bother defending his track record – “Ahkilesh enjoys a lot of popularity, despite the Samajwadi government being a dismal failure in governance and law and order“. Guess it doesn’t matter, because “None of the SP’s criminal nexus mud will stick to him despite a lot of his candidates being also shortlisted by his father“. So it is OK if 80% of the candidates selected by both camps are same, dispute “only on 20-25 seats” and bizarrely, Akhilesh retains more of the current batch of MLAs than his father wants to! None of these will stop our media stalwarts from awarding “Tipu” the prize of new-era champion of clean politics. Saba Naqvi whose hatred for BJP is too well known to require elaboration helps out:

Smita Gupta of Hindu is not far behind in singing the praise of the new messiah. Again, she could not bring herself to certify the track record of her prince (that would stretch credulity too much) but engages in verbal gymnastics to spin it. “Now almost five years later, he may not have accomplished what he had set out to do, but he is that much closer to his goal

But if facts are inconvenient, rumour mongering is always an option available to our liberal, secular, progressive media, with the usual “anonymous” sources to the rescue. Ask any question, you will get labelled a fascist troll, bhakth, sanghi. Here goes Barkha Dutt

As Prasanna Viswanathan points out, the media elites were hailing Mulayam as a hero of secular forces not too long ago!

No scrutiny no questions asked

Moreover, NONE of the intense scrutiny of track record that Modi or any BJP CM was subject to, none of the wailing over infant mortality, lack of primary healthcare and other favorite topics of our left liberals was allowed to get in way of this wholesome praise of “Tipu”. No media crook posted pictures of garbge, potholes, dysfunctional school or hospital to “puncture” the development claims. Construction of a cricket stadium of “international” standards was praised as a “development” initiative and a key “achievement” without any of the usual breast beating over people dying of starvation etc. The Lucknow-Agra highway was similarly hyped as a major achievement when similar claims by any BJP leader would be dismissed with focus relentlessly kept on one those that lost their lands in the process.


It will be interesting to see if Akhilesh turns out to be the messiah that he is made out to be by the Delhi media or will turn out to be another Kejriwal. If Akhilesh kisses and makes up with his Uncle Shivpal and Pop Mualayam, accomodates the other 10-15% of candidates that are in dispute, expect the narrative to once again shift to ‘secularism’ from ‘development’ with Mulayam once again praised as the Lohiaite socialist mass leader, firm in his secular credentials and agendas. All talk of thugs with lathis will cease.







Open letter to Rahul Gandhi

Dear Pappu

There was a time “Pappu” was considered derogatory. But then your own party workers are using it freely now, so I presume you will not be offended by my using it!

It must be frustrating for you – whatever you do or say seems to be perceived as childish or immature. Even your media friends are doing you no favor by declaring every few months that you have finally matured and arrived. As if you were that “special” child until yesterday.

All is not lost. You have a few distinct advantages

  1. You are young. You have time on your side. Barring Kejriwal almost all your competitors will hit 70 or more by 2024.
  2. Congress rank and file or middle tier leadership is in no danger of discovering its self respect. It is still and will be for the foreseeable future, a private venture of your family. So there are no internal threats. Of course, this applies to your rivals too.
  3. You have a pan-India mind share which is unique with Kejriwal being the only exception. No one outside Bengal will dream of seeing Mamata B in the PM chair and same can be said of Nitish Kumar too, particularly in the south.

But then you have unique challenges too.

  1. Congress is the only party that has a track record to explain. Others come with more or less clean slate. Their performance in their own backyards can be questioned but only so much. They can easily spin it in their favor barring major scandals.
  2. The very fact that there are so many claimants to the PM chair means you have to put a distance between not just Modi and yourself but between yourself and Nitish, Mamata, Kejriwal and others too.
  3. Unless Modi screws up enormously (Demonetisation is NOT one, regardless of what your retainers may tell you), a wave election favoring a single non-Modi candidate can pretty much be ruled out for 2019. It will be BJP again (perhaps with reduced majority or a need to strike new alliances to shore up numbers) or a fractured 90s style verdict.
  4. The others in the fray have made it amply clear time and again that they do not see you as their leader. Just getting them to join a meeting has been a herculean task for you.
  5. DMK/ADMK, Naveen Patnaik, KCR may hold 80-100 seats between them and none of them have any particular reason not to sign up with Modi should he need their help. Of course, they may support you, but they may also support a 3rd front. You are neither here nor there.

Given this background, what should you do? This is the high level “strategy”

  • Focus on differentiating yourself from the rest of the also-rans.
  • Take it slow, easy.

How do you get there? What are the tactics?

  1. Forget 2019, focus on 2024 – this sounds defeatist. But you don’t have to give up until the last vote is counted and writing is on the wall. But you don’t have to be so desperate like the rest for whom 2019 is the last chance in life. So you are hitting both strategic goals with this approach.
  2. Forget Modi, focus on others – Again this sounds like a bad advise. After all, isn’t he the man to beat? Yes, but for you the rest are as much rivals if not more. Remember, Modi’s die hard voters will vote him even if he is caught spying for Pakistan. (They will claim he has some special trick up his sleeve). You have a tough job convincing anti-Modi voters that you are THE man for the job. Naturally if you do a good job at this, the race becomes a two horse one. You just can’t wish away the other horse, rather, the elephant in the room. At least not in 2019.
  3. Collaborate with Modi on specific agenda items – Again this is contrarian. When Mamata and Kejri are crying themselves hoarse seeing conspiracy in every shadow, can you lag behind? But then the point is, that is precisely why you should do this. To show the educated, post-caste, mature electorate (whose numbers and proportion will grow with time) that you are PM in waiting not an anarchist clown who can’t be trusted. You can work together on Kashmir, Election funding reform, GST and few other areas where it costs you nothing, benefits you enormously to be seen as facilitating, mature, sensible leader with sound ideas. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you have to pull punches on other issues. It just means you don’t have to constantly oppose and hog the airwaves screaming and shouting when you have two professional anarchists to compete with and have no hopes of outracing them.
  4. Do not sign away any state with suicidal “mahaghatbandhan” – Yes that is precisely what you did in Bihar and trying to do in UP. A few seats and perhaps one or two ministry posts mean nothing if that state is lost for next ten years or more. It takes work no doubt but you have think of yourself (ie Congress) as natural alternative to BJP. Only then you can convince voters of that.
  5. Don’t touch the left with a 10 foot pole – Sitaram Yechuri and his comrades are still living in Stalin’s 40s. They simply do not have any credible economic plan for 21st century India. As the country grows they will be have even less relevance and will have a stake in nothing but anarchy, violence and backwardness. At best, they may be able to deploy their loyal army of “intellectuals” in the media and so-called “civil society” to sing your praise if you dance to their tunes. But then they have little choice and will anyway come crawling once you capture power. You can throw them some crumbs and gigs at ICHR or whatever. After all, they will be starving and completely famished by the time Modi is done. By allowing them to act as your mentor or advisors you are simply signing up to be their B-team captain. Unless that is your objective.

If you stick to this agenda, you will do reasonably well in 2019 and be in a position to seen as the best bet to anyone looking for a non-Modi option. Today this demography is spoiled for choice.