Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congress. Show all posts

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Why Resign!?

My home life was another story. That day on the train to New York was also five months to the day from when I moved out of my house and told my husband, who I had been with since I was 16 years old, that I wanted a divorce. It wasn’t the first time I had tried to leave; the last time was less than a month before the election, and when I tried, he made it clear to me that if I left, he would ruin me. I knew he could, so I went back to him and finished the campaign. But, after five months on the job and with the toxicity of our relationship growing worse, I knew I had to finally leave once and for all........ the nudes and private text messages that had been published on a right-wing website called Red State, everything came crashing down. I believe my husband is the source of the images. ....... one of the most difficult moments during my resignation process was my phone call to the Speaker, a woman I admire more than anyone and whom I had come to love. She told me I didn’t have to do this, that the country needed me and that she wished I hadn’t made this decision ........ The future I thought was in store for me that was instantly and irrevocably gone. ........ Alex — “A.O.C.,” as people like to call her — said I was a warrior and always would be. ....... So the next day I put on my battle uniform: a red dress suit that my mom had bought me. I put on my war paint: bright red lipstick. I stepped up to that lectern and told the world that although my time in Congress was over, I wasn’t done — I was just moving to another battlefield.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Could Arithmetic Force Modi And Rahul To Team Up?

What the final tally will be is anybody's guess right now, but let's say this is how it rolls: "...the post-poll scenario will be dictated by regional parties that will climb back to the pre-2014 situation with 223-225 estimate is that BJP’s tally will be around 170-180, down from 282 in 2014 and Congress’ may rise to 140-150, which will be phenomenal from 44 in 2014 ..... "

BJP and allies: 170-180
Congress and allies: 140-150.
Federal Front: 200-220

Most people might suggest this means the Federal Front will get the Prime Minister with outside support from the Congress. But then no regional party might get more than 30 MPs.

Another option would be for the BJP and the Congress to come together with Modi as Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi as Deputy Prime Minister. That might be a more stable government. In a democracy, you respect the people's verdict. Modi has made remarkable progress on issues like ease of doing business and infrastructure, whereas Rahul Gandhi has come up with the wonderful idea of a Universal Basic Income for the bottom 20% of the people. Country above party, as both like to say.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Who Will Win India 2019?

A national election in the world's largest democracy is quite an event. It goes on for weeks for one. The campaign itself lasts only a few weeks. It is not a year-long lurch like in the US. But then, at some level, the campaign is never over. There is always a major election right around the corner somewhere in India. Only a few months back the Congress elbowed the BJP out of power in three major states. But then the Pakistan-India ruckus happened, and that was advantage BJP, politically speaking.

Polls are notoriously off in India. Poll numbers have missed the mark consistently over the last several elections. It might be because the majority of Indian voters are out of reach for pollsters. In the 2014 election, the BJP performed much better than any poll had forecast. It ended up with a comfortable majority. It was a replay of the Rajiv Gandhi victory for Congress in 1984.

What will happen this time? It is hard to tell. Has Modi delivered? Yes and no. The land reform and the labor market reform that might have upped job creation were both opposed and successfully, despite Modi throwing his weight behind them. Major work has been done on the infrastructure front. India has climbed up in the ease of doing business index. The jump is huge. Through his relentless travels, Modi has put India on the global map.

But then Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost in 2004. It looked like he might win.

Right now looks like the BJP led alliance, the NDA, will win, and Modi will come back as Prime Minister. But should that not happen do not expect Rahul Gandhi to become Prime Minister. The non-Congress, non-BJP parties will want someone like Mamata Banerjee or Chandrababu Naidu to take the lead. But Modi is still the most popular politician in India by a wide margin. He does not seem to have competition.

NDA to win majority with 283 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha Polls: Times Now-VMR survey
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is likely to come to power with a majority on its own, an opinion poll by Times Now-VMR completed after the Balakot air strikes has predicted. The survey predicted the NDA to get as much as 282 seats - 10 over the halfway mark - leaving the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance ( UPA) way behind with 136 seats. Other parties which include the SP-BSP-RLD and non aligned parties like the BJD, Telangana Rashtriya party and YSR Congress could end up with 136. The predicted tally for the NDA is 54 seats less than what it got in 2014.

Math Over Popularity In UP, Edge For Gathbandhan: Prannoy Roy's Analysis
the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav combo alone could bring down the NDA score in the state from 73 to 37, even if Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity is at the level of the 2014 national election....... The addition of Congress to the mix could have deducted another 14 seats from the NDA tally, reducing it to 23 seats, data shows.
Lok Sabha polls: Modi-BJP show all the way, no chance for Rahul Gandhi as PM, predicts satta bazaar
The satta bazaar predicts 55 seats for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh
The Man Who Predicted 2014 Indian Election Reveals Who Will Take The Throne In 2019
The last election was not about the party but the leader. Similarly, the 2019 election will also be about the leader. The seasoned people are talking about party politics while the youth is focused on the leader ..... the world will be ruled by four nationalist Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Benjamin Netanyahu. ....... I am picking data from rural India. How many families have benefited from the cooking gas and electricity? How many have got access to toilets and how many kids are going to school now? When I study this I am getting a figure of fifty crore. Even in forty-fifty crore, being a conservative I divide it by two, it is twenty crore. You know in 2014, the elections were won by a small margin of 1.4 crore and here you have a larger swing. So my calculation says 2019 belongs to Modi.
Why India's Pollsters Will Have A Tough Time Predicting Election 2019 In the last three elections, opinion polls have been significantly off the mark.
in the last three elections, polls have been significantly off the mark. In 2004 and 2009 the victorious Congress alliance was completely underestimated, while in 2014 only Bajaj’s firm predicted the BJP would win an outright majority. ..... if two regional parties already in alliance joined forces with the main opposition Congress, the BJP would be wiped out in the state, almost certainly losing power nationally.
BJP will lose seats but win 2019 Lok Sabha polls, says survey August 21, 2018
According to the India Today’s Mood of the Nation (MOTN) July 2018 poll, the NDA will be back in power with 281 seats, nine seats ahead of the half-way mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha. However, but the BJP will lose its majority and slide down to 245 seats. The UPA will be far behind with 122 seats and the Congress will increase its tally to 83 seats. ..... The BJP, according to the poll, will come down from the 282 seats it had won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but will increase its vote share from 31.34 per cent to 36 per cent. ..... The Congress, on the other hand, will increase its seat tally from the 44 it won in 2014 to 83 seats, while its vote share will go up from 19.52 to 31 per cent...... The ‘Others’, who are basically fence-sitters, are predicted to get a whopping 140 seats with a 33 per cent of the vote share in the Lok Sabha. ...... Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be the favourite for the top job with 49 per cent of the respondents rooting for him while 27 per cent of the respondents favoured Congress President Rahul Gandhi for the post.
Prashant Kishor's PM Prediction for 2019 Polls Will Have BJP Cheering
Prashant Kishor said on Monday that Narendra Modi would return as the Prime Minister after Lok Sabha polls ..... A resident of Buxar district in the state, Kishor shot to fame in 2014 when he managed the poll campaign for Narendra Modi, then the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, which went on to put up its best-ever electoral performance....... A year later, he collaborated with Kumar who returned to power for his third consecutive term after registering a handsome victory in the assembly polls...... Among NDA constituents, the JD(U) is the third largest after the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
2019 Elections in India: Modi Won't Have It Easy January 3, 2019
Contrary to the traditional political punditry that the 2019 elections would be a ritual to re-elect the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the miraculous return of the opposition Indian National Congress (INC) under Rahul Gandhi in state elections has thrown a major spanner in Modi’s works. ...... The INC has thrashed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh (114 of 230 seats), Rajasthan (99 of the 200 seats) and Chhattisgarh (68 of the 90 seats), which account for 65 seats in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of India’s bicameral parliament). In the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won 62 of these 65 seats. ........ When the BJP swept to power in 2014, winning 282 of the 543 seats, it became the first political party in thirty years to win an outright majority in India. ...... The regional and sub-national parties will the x-factor in India’s 2019 election. They would be the kingmakers who will be critical in determining who forms the next government.
Inside India's Colossal, Colorful, Tough-to-Predict Election
India’s elections have been notoriously difficult to predict because of the endless possibilities of coalitions. ...... In 2014, the Election Commission of India deployed 3.7 million polling staff, 550,000 security personnel, 56 helicopters and 570 special trains to conduct a five-week-long exercise in close to a million polling stations. ...... The commission sets up a polling booth for a lone voter in the Gir forest in western state of Gujarat, where lions roam. It also protected a polling station in Chhattisgarh by deploying a medical team to prevent a swarm of honeybees attacking voters....... now 430 million Indians own a smartphone, half a billion use the Internet, 300 million use Facebook, 200 million send messages on WhatsApp and 30 million are on Twitter. It means political parties and candidates will aggressively use new technology and social media to win the hearts and minds of young voters.
Why opinion poll predictions are drifting away from reality
View: Nobody knows anything about India's huge elections
The last elections, in 2014, threw up a result that had been unthinkable for three decades: a clear majority for one party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. While repeating that mandate isn’t impossible, it will be extremely difficult. The BJP doesn’t have much of a presence outside the north and west of India and, for its majority in 2014, it had to win almost all the seats in which it was competitive. In the end, Modi himself only won a little more than 30 per cent of the vote. ...... This time around, Modi faces a more difficult task. Memories of the Congress years have faded. And his own performance as prime minister has been, at best, underwhelming. Government officials may claim that India is growing faster now than it ever has, but few people believe that. What everyone knows is that jobs are hard to come by and that farmers in particular are suffering. ....... He has never stopped campaigning. In 2014, he was an exciting novelty; in 2019 he is an institution. His face is everywhere, on walls and in newspapers, above reminders of one government welfare program or another. He has a radio show, his government can count on support from tame television channels and, of course, he still has Twitter. ..... voters aren’t pleased with the state of the economy or with the BJP’s administrative skills. ..... Few outside Modi’s own circle believed that he would win a majority in 2014. In 1999, the BJP won fewer seats -- after a border skirmish with Pakistan -- than predicted. In 2004, the BJP government was unexpectedly voted out. And, in 2009, the Congress increase in seat strength startled pretty much every observer. ..... Nobody ever knows quite what the Indian electorate will produce on counting day.
Will BJP win Lok Sabha polls 2019? Here's what top pollsters predict

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Modi Praises Shashi Tharoor Oxford Speech

Shashi Tharoor gets praise from PM Narendra Modi after Sonia Gandhi’s rebuke
A day after he got a reprimand from his party chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday received handsome praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his debating skills, creating flutters in political circles about the timing of his remarks. ....... "What Shashi ji said (at the Oxford debate recently) has now gone viral on YouTube," the PM said praising the passionate argument in Oxford put forward by Tharoor in demanding reparation payments from the UK to India for 200 years of its colonial rule. ........ Tharoor's speech gelled with the feelings of patriotic Indians on the issue and also shows what impression one can leave with effective arguments by saying the right things at the right place, Modi said. ...... Seated in the front row, Tharoor, who was pulled up by Gandhi on Wednesday for leaking his remarks against Congress' stalling tactics in Parliament on the issue of scams, acknowledged the Prime Minister's praise for him with a smile.
India’s Modi praises MP for reparations speech at Oxford
The 15-minute video of his speech to the Union has more than 1.2 million hits on YouTube and has been shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Facebook....... “India’s share of the world economy when Britain arrived on its shores was 23 percent. By the time the British left it was down to below four percent,” Tharoor said in the May 28 debate. ..... “Why? Simply because India had been governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India,” he said. ..... Tharoor added that Indians had “literally paid for our own oppression,” as by the end of the 19th century they were the world’s biggest purchasers of British goods as well as providing employment for highly paid civil servants. ..... Tharoor has often faced flak from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for praising Modi and his initiatives, and was removed as a party spokesman last October........ “I am very touched and grateful,” the 59-year-old said after the compliments on his oratory skills.
Shashi Tharoor: Impressive Speech At Oxford

The curious thing is, the only way the Congress party can get competitive again in the next 20 year timeframe is if Shashi Tharoor runs for and becomes Congress party president. His state right now feels like the last Congress stronghold.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Nitish Kumar: Opposition Leader

हिन्दी: देश के उप राष्ट्रपति मोहम्मद हामिद अंस...
हिन्दी: देश के उप राष्ट्रपति मोहम्मद हामिद अंसारी पटना में पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री सत्येन्द्र नारायण सिन्हा(छोटे साहब) की 94वीं जयंती पर आयोजित व्याख्यानमाला श्रंखला पर पूर्व सांसद किशोरी सिन्हा और मुख्यमंत्री नीतीश कुमार के साथ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of all politicians in India, Nitish Kumar is best suited for the role of Opposition Leader. That does not mean he has to be in Delhi. A vibrant democracy necessarily requires an Opposition Leader. That space currently seems to be vacant. What would it take?

A Clear Victory In Bihar In 2015

Without a victory, Nitish is finished. But that requires forging a strong JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI alliance. If the four parties can come together, they will sweep Bihar. Sushil Modi is no match to Nitish. But if JD(U) fights solo, you will likely see a BJP government in Bihar. Should that happen Nitish might as well go into retirement.

The four party alliance will give him a 2010-like mandate. It is because his track record is supreme. Laloo is not so bad. He was as excellent as Railways Minister as Nitish as Chief Minister.

Codifying Nitishism And Exporting It To Uttar Pradesh

Right now the BJP is on its way to grabbing power in the all important state of Uttar Pradesh, which needs to be bifurcated by the way. Mayawati and Mulayam are nowhere close to coming together, which is their only shot at keeping the BJP away. They might first choose to face total defeat before they see the light. Currently the BSP, SP and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh are like three horses that are headed in three different directions. Bringing the three together is a tall task, and noone is even trying. But just the three of them coming together is not enough. Unlike Nitish, Akhilesh does not have a great development track record. That is where Nitish comes into the picture. He needs to codify Nitishism that has worked so well in Bihar, and he needs to export that to Uttar Pradesh. Nitish should play a role in Uttar Pradesh to that effect.

The Left And Mamata In West Bengal

They are already warming up to each other. That is because the Left is no longer the number two party in the state. That now would be the BJP. And just like in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Congress gets to play the junior partner.

Sweeping Bihar

Nitish has to sweep Bihar in 2015 like he swept in 2010. And then he has to win 35 plus of the 40 seats in 2019. Unless these two things happen, there is no scope for him at the national level. But a 35 plus strength in 2019 allows him to reach out to people like Mamata, Patnaik and Jayalalita.

The Congress Stays Below 50

I don't see how the Congress will go past 50 seats even in 2019. I expect Modi to perform well and further eat into Congress votes.


Even in 2014, it is not the BJP that is the clear winner. The non-Congress, non-BJP parties together earned about 50 per cent of the votes. If the BJP grew, it grew at the expense of the Congress in terms of vote share. The vote share of the non-Congress, non-BJP parties is largely intact.

So for someone like Nitish it is not about let's try and earn more votes than the BJP. It is more about how you bring these parties together. Mamata's coinage Federal Front is a good name and a good idea. Only it needs a formal structure. It needs a formal Central Coordination Committee. There Nitish can play a role, but only if he sweeps Bihar next year. Right now he is a fisherman without a boat.

Codifying Nitishism

Nitish performed better as Chief Minister than did Modi. The development drama in Bihar was more impressive than the one in Gujrat, although Gujrat was impressive enough. Jitan Ram Majhi being Chief Minister for one year is a great idea, in that the people of Bihar can feel development work will not evaporate should Nitish move to Delhi.

Social Media

Nitish updates his Facebook page regularly, and that is impressive. His Facebook updates are more impressive than that of Modi. But he is absent on Twitter. That is a huge disadvantage. And he will have to go hi-tech like Modi if he wishes to go national. A national leader needs to work towards a national appeal.


I expect Modi to perform well. And if it is the Congress that is the party waiting to take it all back, then Modi could stay put for 15 years. But if Nitish Kumar goes for it, it might be possible to dislodge Modi in 2019, most definitely in 2024. Nitish could be Prime Minister. He started opposing Laloo when Laloo was at his peak in Bihar. When he finally did replace Laloo, he outperformed him as Chief Minister. I think he might prove a better Prime Minister than Modi even. But a lot of chips have to fall in place for that to happen.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Federal Front Is A Great Idea

English: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Baner...
English: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee attends a news conference in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata September 7, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If and when Modi's time is up, it will be someone from the Federal Front who will take over. That is what I foresee. And so step one perhaps is a Federal Front leading the opposition.

Trinamool Congress 34
Biju Janata Dal 20

That alone is 91.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti 11

That takes it past 100, which is double whatever the Congress can muster.

Credit goes to Mamata for coining the term.

There is a real role in the Upper House for this Front.

The BJP grew almost entirely at the expense of the Congress. The BJP did not eat much into the votes of the non-Congress, non-BJP parties which together get as many votes as the Congress and the BJP combined. That is grounds for a pre-poll formal, structured alliance.

You broker peace between Mulayam and Mayawati and you get Uttar Pradesh, you broker peace between Nitish and Laloo and you get Bihar. Delhi goes to whoever gets the Hindi heartland.

But right now my bet is the BJP will also form the state government in Uttar Pradesh in a few years. Bihar, I don't know. I don't know what Nitish has on his mind. I think he would like to fight solo and sweep Bihar like his colleagues Mamata, Jayalalita and Patnaik.

Regional parties may form ‘federal front’, isolate Congress in Parliament
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Modi Wave Or Pendulum Swing?

It is interesting to me that the non-Congress, non-BJP parties collectively got more votes than either the BJP or the Congress. What is even more interesting is that the BJP has grown largely at the expense of the Congress.

I think Modi has earned himself 10 years. But in a post-Modi scenario there is going to be room for the creation of a Third Front.

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I See Modi Doing Well

Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a na...
Flag of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a national political party in India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I see Modi doing well as Prime Minister. I see him giving a strong performance on infrastructure, and FDI. I see him managing the state apparatus well. If he won such a thumping majority based on promise, his majority in five years might be stronger, because it will be based on performance.

What are the political implications? The Congress will have an even harder time crossing the 50 mark in the Lok Sabha next time around. In five years the BJP might cross 300 on its own, and the NDA might cross 350. The message to the Congress is, abhi achhe deen nahin ane wale hain.

The BJP and the NDA mostly grew at the expense of the Congress. Between them the Congress and the BJP get about 50% of the votes. This time was no different. It is just that the pendulum swung much wider this time and the Congress got thrashed. So 50% of the people voted for neither the BJP nor the Congress. There is a message there. Should the Modi government tire or falter, it might be the Third Front, and not the Congress, that might step into the void.

Also, the Third Front parties can not wait for post-poll scenarios. If they are to be viable, they need a permanent structure. They got nothing right now.

This is the first time a Chief Minister has become Prime Minister in India. Now it is going to be that much harder for a non Chief Minister to get the top job in the future. That is bad news for Rahul.

Those who oppose Modi get to try their luck in the states. Modi got Delhi. And he will keep it for 10 years. During those 10 years his political competitors get to prove themselves in their respective states. That also applies to the Congress which still runs a healthy share of the states.
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