Now, that is a problem, already accentuated.

And even after that, the elements are not ready to take stock of the situation.

Narendra Modi was eloquent with confidence when he had said back in May 2014 that he was there for two terms and the 2019 general elections were already won.

It followed the streak for some time, with Modi looking invincible electorally.

The letdown of the two major rounds of the bye-elections was mopped by BJP’s victory in three assembly polls with the added bonus of the party emerging as the second largest party in Jammu & Kashmir.

But, after almost nine months in the prime minister’s office, that eloquence is getting some shattering reality check.

And an ‘unbridled run’ of the fringe elements furthering the communal agenda is one of the reasons behind it.

The communal elements that have long been associated with the BJP’s politics started sounding victorious from the day one as if the victory of Narendra Modi and BJP had given them a safe haven.

Initially the BJP dismissed reactions on their acts.

The dismissive attitude was helped by victories in assembly polls. But in all those states, the BJP was the main opposition voice contesting the polls, against the anti-incumbency of the ruling governments.

But with no effective checks on these voices, they soon started going berserk, sounding and acting unhinged. Vitriolic statements were delivered and practiced. Religious conversions, saffronization of education and making India a Hindu nation started getting frequent visibility.

And this frequent visibility soon started getting traction.

It forced the BJP to come in a defensive mode, distancing itself from the voices, once the cracks started appearing, with the opposition attacking the government in the Parliament, with the people expressing their displeasure on social media and other platforms and with the media outfits debating and discussing the issue with rightly oriented critical coverage.

But the final bolt came with the humiliating loss in the Delhi polls, the first avenue where the BJP was seen ruling the National Capital Territory through the Central rule.

The many factors that contributed to the BJP’s drubbing in Delhi had in the ‘fringe communal elements running amok’ a principal collaborator.

The agenda of these fringe elements generally doesn’t go down well with the voters from the middle classes, the youth, the aspiring and job-seeking population segments and the education and peace-loving lot from every class of the society.

The BJP’s first test on this parameter was in Delhi and it failed here miserably.

Narendra Modi is well aware and he has tried to distance his government away from any radical or communal agenda. Though his silence has been questioned at times, he has come out and spoken clearly to strengthen the secular fabric of the country by voicing full support to the religious freedom, like he did during an church event in Delhi this month. He has been expressing his views in different ways and on different platforms.

But his efforts have failed so far.

And with the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, getting more vocal about its ‘Hindu Nation’ theory and ‘religious conversion and re-conversion’ debate, with statements questioning even a Mother Teresa, alleging her to be involved in religious conversion in the garb of charity, the path ahead looks even more entangled.

To continue..


The public anger against Congress, mixed with the cocktail of its governance related anti-incumbency and its pro-corruption image, pushed the majority of the youth votes to Narendra Modi.

But why Narendra Modi only? Why not other opposition politicians?

Because he was the only projected prime-ministerial figure of pan-India appeal. Because he was the most tech-savvy politician with huge following on social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter. Because he had delivered consistently on his promises of governance and development with a ‘brand’ of politics that appealed to the youth – smart cities, big-ticket infrastructure like Bullet trains, end to end connectivity, employment, checking internal migration for livelihoods. Remember his speeches in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where he sold, day after day, rally after rally, the dreams of providing jobs to the youngsters in their own cities/regions.

No other political opposition figure had these many elements to appeal to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the largest demographic segment of the country.

Half of over 81 Crore voters in the Lok Sabha polls were youngsters, below 35 year. Over 31% of the Indians were in the crucial 18-35 years age-group, the voters, including the first-time voters. 20-30 is the age-group that seeks entry to the job markets.

Their first and foremost priorities are job, employment and future security.

According to the Census figures, in 2011, the number of households having unemployed members rose to 28% from 23% in 2001, an all time high for the decadal exercise. Some 110 million or 15% of the working-age population of 15-60 years were jobseekers. When seen from the perspective of youngsters, 18% of the youth in the age-group 25-29 were looking for jobs while unemployment rate in the age-group 30-34 years existed at 6%.

And most of them voted for Narendra Modi we find when we read into the analysis of the voting patterns of the Lok Sabha polls 2014.

And we don’t we have convincing reasons to say that they were pulled to vote for Modi because of his polarizing appeal.

After all, a famous and often-used proverb says that one cannot (and cannot be expected to) worship God with an empty stomach.

This graphics from a Quartz India article on youth priorities trending during the Lok Sabha polls only corroborates it.

fb11Image courtesy: Quartz India

They voted Narendra Modi in for his promise of development and for their future and not for elements of communal politics/politics of polarization. We should gauge this from the fact that, in spite of all the efforts, Ram Temple doesn’t stir emotions anymore.

The priorities are clearly changing and are changing fast.

And dominance of issues like religious conversions or sanctifying the forgettable (yet not to be forgotten, for they remind us of the dark forces of democracy) ghosts like Godse would make them feel cheated. Their future is at stake and they need a politics of change to change their fortunes and cannot allow absurd issues to hijack it.

They won’t allow the forces diluting the development agenda. And if Narendra Modi doesn’t deliver on it, and allow the fringe, communal elements to go unbound, he is not going to make it home in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar assembly polls as that would be a logical window of time (around two years to around three years) to assess the performance on delivering the related poll promises. But we should not be surprised if we see its signs even in the upcoming Delhi assembly polls.

Narendra Modi needs to feel it, think on it, realize it, and needs to act on it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



As expected, it has begun.

Amit Shah, the BJP UP in-charge and Narendra Modi’s lieutenant addressed a late night press conference yesterday slamming the District Magistrate of Varanasi, who is also the Returning Officer of Varanasi.

The day saw high pitched protests and pressers by the BJP top brass against the Varanasi DM for denying permission to Narendra Modi rallies in the city, especially at the Benia Bagh Park. Many letters were dashed to the Election Commission demanding action against the DM. Arun Jaitley was on the job till late evening.

The late night presser of Amit Shah was to hit back at the DM after his ‘delayed’ permission late in the evening that left the BJP with no time to manage the Modi rallies tomorrow. Obviously, the ‘Yadav’ surname of Varanasi DM gives the BJP enough edge to sound victimized in this case.

But the war cry the BJP has successfully managed to raise on the issue is basically about the larger picture covering the canvassing base in the remaining seats of the Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that are to vote on May 12 in the last phase of the General Elections 2014.

Narendra Modi’s victory in Varanasi is an unambiguous outcome, irrespective of the time he has devoted in the city or is to devote in the city. He won the constituency the day he decided to contest from it. The only factor to be seen here is his margin of victory.

Whatever were the intentions and the reasons of the District Magistrate of Varanasi, it gave the BJP an opportunity and they grabbed it, and exploited it efficiently.

Whatever reasoning the Samajwadi Party might have had for pushing the city DM (if it was so, as alleged), it is going to help the BJP only.

And the developments related to the episode have enough fuel to add significantly to the BJP’s possible protests today.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Though Priyanka Gandhi has said she would not campaign in Varanasi, it cannot be said that some other big name of the Congress party’s first family won’t go to Varanasi before the campaigning in the city ends on May 10. And some reports say Rahul Gandhi is going to hold a road show there on May 9 or 10.

With the Amethi polls over by this evening, the Varanasi-centric focus of campaigning in Eastern Uttar Pradesh is going to witness scaled up and some ugly war of words before the last round of the Lok Sabha polls 2014 on May 12.

Varanasi was already an epicenter of the BJP strategy as the seat directly or indirectly affects the outcomes on around 40 seats in Eastern UP and the adjoining areas of Bihar. And therefore, campaigning has been heavily Varanasi centric.

But the candidature of Smriti Irani from Amethi did add problems to the Congress party and Priyanka Gandhi had to campaign intensively to let the way remain smooth for Rahul Gandhi. And to add to it, a big BJP name like Smriti Irani did bring the topmost BJP names including Narendra Modi to Amethi to canvass for her.

But Varanasi remained the hotspot.

And with Amethi election over, and with Narendra Modi having campaigned in Amethi, Varanasi is going to see some mad rush of last hour election campaigning. If reports say Rahul Gandhi is going to be there, to settle scores with Narendra Modi, to tell others that the Congress party is not the passive mover and can hit back, equally and vehemently, we are having something brewing to be spilled over.

Big Muslim leaders from Congress and UPA including Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad, K Rahman Khan and Nawab Malik are camping in Varanasi to mobilize the Muslim votes against Narendra Modi. Other Congress names will certainly make their presence counted, especially after Rahul’s proposed pitch. Modi is expected to hold road shows and rallies there. Arun Jaitley is camping in the city to hammer the final plan. Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a rally there. Many other names are scheduled to make appearance. Arvind Kejriwal has already reached Varanasi to push together his last concerted efforts.

And the way the war of words has become Modi Vs Priyanka, Modi Vs Rahul, BJP Vs Congress and BJP Vs Others, some unpleasant high decibel uncalled for tune is going to flow in the city of temples till the campaigning ends on May 10.

May 7 to 10 – these four days are going to generate some high voltage political events in the religious and spiritual capital of India that could lower the norms of political decorum even more.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



A week is left. Varanasi is to vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 12. Before that, some big seats of Eastern UP including Amethi and Sultanpur are going to polls on May 7 and that leaves Varanasi battleground free for the last rush of verbal assaults.

But, as the time before the voting day in Varanasi is almost over, the clear picture has become even more visible.

Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign has lost its steam, like it has happened everywhere else with AAP candidates. The gloom is evident with first Arvind Kejriwal and now Yogendra Yadav accepting that ‘quitting the Delhi government decision’ misfired.

Mukhtar Ansari, the number 2 in 2009 elections realized his precarious condition that even if all the Muslim votes polarised in his favour, he was staring at a humiliating loss in the absence of any mainstream political party ticket backing him thus devoiding him of the Hindu votes. This development coupled with strong pro-Narendra Modi sentiments among the Hindu voters of Varanasi were clearing signals for him and found his exit route.

The Congress candidate Ajai Rai, a Bhumihar by caste and considered a strongman is no match to Modi’s electoral stature. He is facing revolt in his family and in the larger Bhumihar community of the constituency counting for over 1,50,000 votes on opposing Narendra Modi and taking support of Mukhtar Ansari who is alleged to be involved in the murder of Awadhesh Singh, elder brother of Ajai Rai and a local don of influence. Mukhtar is also facing allegations of masterminding the murder of another Bhumihar BJP MLA of Varanasi, Krishnanand Rai, in 2005.

Likewise, the SP and the BSP candidates are no challenges to Modi and can be done away with even without naming them in the electoral discourses on Varanasi.

And as the campaign in Varanasi has progressed, the Modi factor in the city has become even more biting on the electoral health of his political rivals in the city.

The overall national projections of Narendra Modi, the BJP and the NDA showing a clear positive swing and a possibility of clear majority for an NDA-led Union Government have added to the polarising personality of Narendra Modi in Varanasi and it was evident from the huge crowd that welcomed him on his nomination day last month. That strength of the crowd was certainly not a managed one and anyone who studies and obverses the election management practices can vouch for it.

Narendra Modi’s victory in Varanasi was there from the day 1, when his candidature was announced.

And like every other article on Modi’s electoral prospects in Varanasi, this one, too, needs to end with the only question that matters for Modi’s political stature and his Varanasi candidature – the margin of his victory – and Modi looks to have consolidated his position to widen the gap.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Modi says hang me if found guilty in Gujarat riots. P Chidambaram says Modi is a compulsive lawyer and an encounter CM.

Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, both are ‘comparatively’ readily and easily available for one-on-one interviews these days. We should expect to see good enough count before the polls are over, something that could clear the backlog.

On the poll theatrics and campaigning atmospherics, it is an all out verbal war between Narendra Modi and the Gandhi family taking the Congress Vs BJP bitterness to a higher acerbic level.

Meanwhile, the other mouths continue to dangle and dazzle, from nowhere to everywhere, from saying something that counts for nothing to saying something everything bad in the manual of the model code of conduct (MCC).

And with the 5th phase of the of General Elections to elect the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian Parliament, over, the scramble is now to become even more visible and audible to the voters, as the remaining four phases account for more than half of the 543 Lok Sabha members to be elected through these elections. With the 5th phase over, the fate of 232 Lok Sabha constituencies are sealed in the electronic voting machines.

Then, there are the opinion polls, to add to the ambience, to make it even more colourful and vibrant.

And the way the recent opinion polls (in fact almost every subsequent one) have added to the earlier projected tallies of the BJP led NDA sending the opposition coalition alliance to even greener territories and one major opinion poll has given the alliance a clear majority just before the 5th phase of the polls, is highly catalytic to precipitate the desperation in Congress and other political outfits to a more active level of expression.

The lubrication due to this catalytic effect is bound to generate even more heat that, in turn, will decorate the words being used in the verbal war even more lavishly.

And to outdo the competition, the BJP and the other NDA parties will do all, with an even more energised outlook thanks to the ‘clear majority’ projection potion.

After all, this has been one of the major traits of Indian democracy, especially in the last two decades, gaining new insights and scaling new heights with every election held.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Arvind Kejriwal has left for Varanasi and is reaching there the next morning to pick the thread of campaigning that he had initiated last month. Almost three weeks have passed since then.

During these three weeks, Kejriwal, on one fine day, got the half-baked enlightenment that pushed him to say that the time chosen to leave the Delhi government was wrong.

While saying this in a half-hearted temper, Kejriwal put his moral on the higher pedestal declaring the move a tactical miscalculation as the Delhiites could not understand his puritan motive.

And now, with this enlightenment (political) that has lighten the burden of his heart, he is reaching the city of Lord Shiva tomorrow to set in motion his campaigning that is directed against defeating Narendra Modi.

And like an enlightened soul, Kejriwal expects to be hit again, but not now. He says, in a way of saying, that in real terms of thrashing, the real thrashing stands postponed, that he is safe until the elections are over as any more thrashing attempt may ‘boomerang’ and may benefit Kejriwal and AAP electorally. His enlightenment says the ‘real’ thrashing will come after the Lok Sabha polls.

(The alter-ego to his enlightenment says that it is logical that these thrashings should stop for now as these have failed to produce any electoral wave of sympathy for AAP/Arvind Kejriwal.)

And like an enlightened politician, Kejriwal now sounds like accepting a defeat (in Varanasi and elsewhere) in the garb of moral victory, expecting that the unexpected could, somehow, happen. He is seeking ‘truth’ to defeat forces like BJP and Narendra Modi (he doesn’t consider Congress a worthy adversary anymore!).

He says: “What is needed is the path of truth… This is what happened in the Delhi election too. People used to then remark that we had no money. I agreed. But I told everyone that we were on the path of truth. We need to stick to that.”

And with this enlightened thinking, he is reaching Varanasi the next morning to take on Narendra Modi who is busy crisscrossing the country. Refusal of Mukhtar Ansari (that has left the Muslim votes available to others) has already given him a boost before the next leg of his Varanasi stay as he can expect to mobilize the Muslim votes in his favour now.

(The alter-ego to this enlightenment says the deal with Mukhtar Ansari to consolidate the anti-Narendra Modi votes is indeed a political requirement of the electoral scene of now in Varanasi though the ‘truth-seeker’ in Kejriwal rubbishes reports of any deal with the don-turned-politician who is in jail for rioting, murder and other charges, even if Mukhtar’s brother claims to have the CCTV footage of AAP leaders in meeting with him to discuss the possibility of Mukhtar leaving the Varanasi seat.)

And with this enlightened political persona, Kejriwal is reaching Varanasi to hit the campaign trail, banking on the strength of his ‘truth’.

Varanasi has been electorally-politically interesting right from the day Narendra Modi announced his candidature. Kejriwal only added to it. And now, a politically enlightened, truth-seeker Kejriwal is going to add even more spice to it.

Some pretty interesting days (electorally-politically) ahead folks!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Narendra Modi as the prime minister of the country and the BJP forming the next government are, at best, the choices forced by the political circumstances in the country.

Yes, they are not the ideal alternatives an informed Indian voter would like to look up to when he has a really different and worthy option to exercise his electoral rights. But that is not the case. Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party did raise some hopes but they look more as aberrations now.

BJP, Congress, SP, BSP, DMK, AIADMK, BJD, NCP, TDP, JDU and every other national and regional party is riddled with the common pseudo-democratic practices parasitic on the Indian democracy. Every political party has willingly contributed to the increasing political criminalization and a chronic political corruption.

But being a country run by a Constitution led governing apparatus involving elections to elect the governments at regular intervals, the voters do not have any other option but to vote to elect someone to run the country.

And this need to ‘elect someone’ pushes for the best possible alternative available from among the pool of the political parties in the fray that may not be even up to the mark when checked on the universal standards of political probity.

Also, this decision to ‘elect the best possible alternative’ is always not take rationally. The illogical but important factors of caste and community are always on play.

As of now, we cannot bank on the pre-poll surveys for some finality on the outcome of the General Elections 2014, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments across the country, across every electoral formation.

Almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leaders like P. Chidambaram or Manish Tewari who are not willing to contest this time due to the fear of certain defeat.

And the BJP (and the NDA) being the only political opposition with an almost pan-India presence has gained enough traction to be projected as making the next government aided by a strong personality statement of Narendra Modi on administration, governance and polarisation factors.

People want change from UPA and Congress and that is why they are voicing their opinion in favour of Narendra Modi, BJP and NDA but that doesn’t make them the ideal alternative.

Rather, the political circumstances with anti-incumbency against the Congress leading the pack of the factors make the NDA the circumstantial choice of the voters.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives this time.

And the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to tell us the voters’ compulsion to vote the BJP in.

A compulsion that always has this in-built dilemma to know if the decision taken was right or was a grave mistake!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



It is not about Jaswant Singh being some saviour for the people of Barmer. It is also not about the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency being some hellhole for its people who are desperately looking for a saviour and Jaswant Singh can deliver for them.

Yes, being a career politician of the BJP with a respectable presence in the national politics, Jaswant Singh certainly did not deserve this treatment, especially when his demand was not something about withdrawing Narendra Modi’s prime-ministerial candidature, something that makes Narendra Modi insecure.

Jaswant Singh should win from Barmer as an independent candidate because it would tell the BJP and Narendra Modi and other politicians that there should be more to the outcome of the electoral process than to mere ‘winnability’ of the candidate. Jaswant Singh should win to tell the BJP that Narendra Modi was absolutely wrong here.

Okay, we cannot bank on pre-poll surveys for some finality as of now, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments and almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leader like P. Chidambaram who are not willing to contest this time.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives again.

But the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to defy that purpose of ‘people seeking change through these elections’.

Even in case of Barmer, a Congress defector who left the grand old party of India recently, was given preference overriding Jaswant Singh’s demand to contest his last election from his home constituency. And it is not with just this choice, many other controversial and worn out names of Congress and other parties have been fielded by the BJP.

Considering ‘winnability’ in elections is logical but it should not wash out the purpose of electoral mandate to bring the change.

The BJP strategists say the Congress defector is a Jat leader and can score a win by attracting the Jats who are the trend-setting chunk of the voters in the Barmer parliamentary constituency.

But given the strong BJP performance in the recently held Rajasthan assembly polls that gave the party 7 out of the 8 assembly segments of Barmer, a senior politician like Jaswant Singh could have easily won, especially when he comes from Barmer.

That tells us, apart from the mad rush on ‘winnability’, it was also the internal BJP muck including the larger-than-party presence of Narendra Modi that denied Jaswant Singh a ticket from Barmer.

The nation needs a stable government and strong prime minister that Narendra Modi can become but the nation certainly doesn’t need a larger than life prime minister who cannot tolerate the voices of dissent. Now, every one knows that Jaswant Singh is from the L K Advani faction in the BJP that Narendra Modi is persevering to make ineffective.

It is true no one has expected and no one should expect the BJP to follow the politics of probity. Like others, BJP is just yet another political party of the worn-out political system in India where taking a moral stand is seen as an outdated and irrelevant practice. And so this move from the BJP is not surprising.

Yes, but, Jaswant Singh’s win from Barmer would be a pleasant surprise and a befitting reply to Narendra Modi and the BJP.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


With the Election Commission (EC) of India announcing the poll schedule of the 2014 General Elections (GE 2014) today, the model code of conduct has come into force with the immediate effect. The long list of EC’s do’s and dont’s, though, on a whole, fails to discipline the politicians, has certain favourites prioritized on the lips of the election commissioners whenever they enumerate the measures to make the elections free and fair.

Major among them are controlling the flow of money beyond the stipulated limit, disciplining the politicians on their personal conduct against other politicians and disciplining the politicians on making sky-high promises to the electorate.

And therefore, like always, the Election Commission has reiterated the three cardinal points:

Politicians should not make unrealistic promises/unachievable claims.

Politicians should not target each other with unsubstantiated allegations.

The contestants must follow the threshold of poll spending, adding another clause this time to submit details of foreign accounts and assets.

Now, based on the flow of the history and the precedents set, we all know what is going to happen (BJP-AAP violent clash outside BJP’s Delhi office today is just a glimpse of it):

When it comes to making promises, Indian politicians are the unmatched achievers who religiously follow the age-old saying of the sages that ‘impossible is a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary of achievers’.

  • They ascetically believe that ‘achieving’ means ‘making promises to extort votes’ by making promises look as grand and fabulous as possible.

The war of words that has already reached to juicier levels is slated to scale the deafening heights. The limits of acceptable parliamentary behavior that were already made irrelevant years ago will get even more humiliating treatment.

  • The dictionary of unparliamentarily/abusive/derogatory is scheduled to get more comprehensive and enriched by May 10, 2014 when the campaigning for the last phase of GE-2014 (on May 12) ends.

‘Who spends what’ and ‘who should spend what’ – it has been an evergreen point of rift between the politicians and the regulators, with politicians consistently outdoing the Election Commission. And this foreign accounts and assets clause is not going to be of any use as such accounts and assets are maintained to stash the black money away from the regulatory clutches and identities are either kept secret or are outsourced to others.

So, be ready for the final push of the political assault that began with the five state assembly polls in the last quarter of 2013.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –