Today was basically a field days for spokespersons. They tried to cover as much length and breadth of this country as possible and they tried to speak as louder as they could so as to become audible (and visible) to media and social media eyes and ears and so on. What was put in action some days ago saw its top pitch today and will have its various notes in the days to come.

The biggest of them (in stature), held big sized rallies like the one held by Narendra Modi in Saharanpur.

Then there were extensions – from the ruling party – and from the opposition – selling and counter-selling achievements and allegations.

And then there were propped up or spontaneous splinter entities – on airwaves – blessing or bashing the two years of the Narendra Modi government.

Now, statistics tells what you want it to tell.

So, Narendra Modi, his spokespersons, other leaders of his party and his supporters have plenty to tell – from social empowerment – to introducing structural changes in infrastructure – to industrial turnaround – to internal and external security – to foreign policy.

Likewise, Narendra Modi and BJP’s political rivals, including Modi’s detractors, have as much in their kitty as they want to scatter – and they want to scatter it all.

So, if NDA and BJP’s ministers, MPs and other leaders are busy holding meetings and rallies in different parts of countries, hard-selling their claimed achievements in these two years – the two years, that according to them, have changed India – political rivals and opposition, including Congress, Left Front, JDU, AAP and others are busy hard-selling their counterpoints – presenting point by point rebuttal of government’s claims.

But the fact is – statistics doesn’t really tell the stories that pull votes in times of elections – if figures are without facts – or even if figures are with flimsy facts. We all saw how NDA’s ‘India Shining’ campaign crumbled in 2004. We saw how miserably the Manmohan Singh led UPA government failed in convincing people in 2014 Lok Sabha polls that it indeed had delivered on governance.

Like Modi has directed his ministers and party members to take their achievements to people, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, too, had tried. The difference is – Modi is on the job right from the first year of his government while Manmohan Singh’s government tried it as a desperate campaign measure in the face of a sky-high anti-incumbency after nine years in the office.

Obviously, those statistical tales didn’t help Manmohan Singh and Congress then and the party was reduced to its lowest tally of 44 in the Lok Sabha. Narendra Modi must be having that in mind.

The biggest currency that Narendra Modi has, after two years in government, is – he still has no competition at his level. He is still the most popular politician, one of the most popular prime ministers and the gap between him and others who could pose as his rival to the prime minister’s office in 2019 is comfortably wide. In fact, he is sitting at the top pretty comfortably.

After two years of Narendra Modi in 7RCR, the official residence of India’s prime minister, India, still, has no political alternative to him.

But then, three years is a long time in India’s political landscape. Anything can happen. Let’s see which way the political tide turns (and soars) starting with the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections early next year.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The Bhartiya Janata Party has chosen to skip all first-mover advantages that Rahul Gandhi also allowed to slip. He did not take out of the box initiative on the Lokpal Bill. The country would have loved to see him taking side of Anna Hazare. The country would have respected him if he would not have delayed his reactions on December 16 Delhi gangrape incident or firing on farmers in Maval. The country would have worshipped him if he had clarified on Robert Vadra.

Narendra Modi had also his chances, the chances that begun just after completion of the first year of his government on May 26. It started with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. The Lalit Modi row then reached to take Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Rajasthan’s chief-minister and his MP son Dushyant Singh in its grip. Then came the much reviled episode, deaths in the Vyapam scam. In spite of over 45 deaths in the scam, Madhya Pradesh chief-minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan did not ask for a central investigation. in fact, he was forced to ask for a CBI probe when he was cornered from all sides.

Like Rahul Gandhi didn’t realize or allowed to slip such life-changing political opportunities – the moves that could have made him a true mass leader – Narendra Modi, knowingly or unknowingly, is on the same way.

Yes, Sushma Swaraj may be too big a name in the BJP to remove from her position, even if she is considered close to L. K. Adavani, but the BJP could have asked Vasundhara to leave office till she came clean. Same follows for her son. And Shivraj could have been pressured much earlier to recommend a CBI probe in the scam that is not limited only to Madhya Pradesh. And these controversies follow from the earlier streak of negatives associated with his government.

Yes, Narendra Modi is still not in the red zone. In fact, the names dragged in controversies in this round are seen anti to his interests in the party and his political career. Vasundhara Raje was seen as a strong regional satrap who worked independently of what the BJP’s central leadership said. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen as a possible contender to the prime-minister’s office when the BJP was finalizing its prime-ministerial candidate before the last Lok Sabha polls.

So, in a way, the weakened positions of these leader would help Narendra Modi politically. But the collateral damage may be severe. There have been developments, in the first year, and especially, in the days after the first year, that have dented government’s image creating a credibility crisis.

And if left unchecked, and if governance falls short on development parameters, and if more such controversies become talking points, the collateral damage will become corrosive enough to hurt electoral prospects.

The credibility crisis must not become the crisis point-of-view driven by mass credulity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


In Vasundhara Raje Scindia’s son Dushyant Singh?

Dushyant Singh is a Bhartiya Janata Party MP from Jhalawar-Baran in Rajasthan. Obviously, he is a self-made politician even if he belongs to a royal family and her mother is the chief-minister of the state he is elected from!

A report says Enforcement Directorate has found anomaly in a financial transaction between Dushyant Singh’s company and Lalit Modi’s firm.

And the details are potent enough to create a ‘Robert Vadra’ sort of controversy. In fact, it has started.

Allegations say Lalit Modi’s firm, Anand Heritage Hotels Private Ltd, infused over 11.60 crore in Dushyant Singh’s Niyant Heritage Hotels Private Limited. Vasundhara Raje Scindia was Rajasthan’s CM then (in her first term).

The break-up includes an unsecured loan of 3.80 crore in 2008 and purchase of 815 shares of Rs. 10 each, at over 96,000 for another 7.8 crore, in subsequent years.

Now, as there are allegations, so there are political justifications, like we have been witnessing in Robert Vadra’s case.

Every justification has proved shady in Robert Vadra’s issue after the persistent row over his meteoric rise post 2007 and his controversial land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan. Congress and Rahul Gandhi must find answers to the ‘unanswered questions’ related to him if they have to talk of the politics of probity.

Obvious parallels are being drawn in Dushyant Singh’s case. Any logic cannot justify why Lalit Modi invested that much money in a firm that was established in 2005 with capitals of Rs. 50,000 each from Dushyant Singh and his wife. Even family friends (Lalit Modi claims he knows Vasundhara’s family for years) don’t do such acts of ‘misplaced largesse’. That makes us go back to the only one reason, the most plausible one – that his mother was then the chief-minister of Rajasthan.

Yes, Robert Vadra controversy has been widely played out by the political opponents and handling it requires a difficult approach as he belongs to a family that is Congress’ pivot. Congress of the day, even if humiliated and electorally out, is nothing without the Nehru-Gandhi family.

On the other hand, as the sources say right now, the BJP may ask Vasundhara to come clean on both issues – on her support to Lalit Modi for his immigration papers to the UK and on Lalit Modi’s money in his son’s firm.

Yes, the BJP would do all to thwart any efforts to shape this as ‘Robert Vadra’s parallel of the BJP’ and the party is in better position to take action as the BJP can survive without Vasundhara Raje Scindia as Rajasthan’s chief-minster and without her son.

Let’s wait and watch to see what happens next.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The Bhartiya Janata Party is weathering political storm over Sushma Swaraj’s ‘humanitarian’ aid to Lalit Modi to let him have the travel documents issued.

Even if this ‘humanitarian’ aid is ethically unviable and makes Sushma Swaraj’s position as the External Affairs Minister of India untenable, it is ‘politically viable’ within the political circumstances of the day – where every outfit is engaged in earning political mileage out of every twist and turn – irrespective of the ethical considerations involved.

So, what is ‘humanitarian’ for Sushma, the RSS, the BJP and some other parties supporting him, is unethical and illegal for others.

And this ‘political viability’ has saved the day for Sushma as of now, from the factions within the party, and from the political pressure outside.

But a development today may prove a bottleneck for her, a dilemma where the BJP needs to find a solution – an approach to defend two senior leaders – one a senior-most minister and another a chief-minister.

And it will be a political display between ‘political viability’ and ‘ethical propriety’.

Last evening’s presser held by Lalit Modi’s lawyer Mehmood Abdi, to defend Lalit Modi and to clarify his position after the expose of Sushma’s aid to him, turned political and could not serve the purpose for which it was held. His lawyer openly blamed the United Progressive Alliance’s government for implicating and ‘hounding’ Lalit Modi. His lawyer blamed three senior UPA ministers. His lawyer blamed the UPA government to withdraw Modi’s security even if he was facing threats from the underworld.

And in a bunch of documents sent after that presser, in support, was a document, that in place of easing the life for the BJP strategists and Sushma Swaraj, is explosive enough to make their lives a political quagmire.

The document, with no signatures, but mailed by Lalit Modi’s public relations firm, shows Vasundhara Raje Scindia as the witness for Lalit Modi’s immigration application form. That was in August 2011 when Vasundhara was leader of opposition in Rajasthan. Document’s veracity is in question, but August 2011 comes months later after as Lalit Modi’s passport was revoked in October 2010 after he fled (left) India in July 2010. Vasundhara Raje is Rajasthan’s chief-minister now.

Vasundhara has said she is not aware of the ‘document in question. Sushma has denied any wrongdoing while extending her humanitarian help.

The BJP had accepted what Sushma said, whatever be the reasons. It did so even today, in the presser held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The controversy surrounding the document naming Vasundhara cropped up after it and the BJP is yet to response on it.

Both are among the senior-most and most high-profile BJP leaders. Now, that the party is strongly ‘behind Sushma Swaraj, it has to do the same with Vasundhara Raje Scindia to sustain the ‘political viability’ in the case.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The Bhartiya Janata Party will try to envelope its defensive stand on the issue in an offensive garb to take on the political storm.

Like it is doing, it will do all to justify the ‘humanitarian’ nature of Sushma Swaraj’s aid extended to Lalit Modi, delinking it with any cases in India Lalit Modi is facing. And, with letter from the Portugal hospital which said his presence was necessary during his wife’s surgery there, the BJP strategists will further reinforce their line of defence (offence).

Irrespective of different factions in the BJP and irrespective of the fact that Sushma Swaraj is seen as from the anti-Narendra Modi Advani faction, the BJP cannot afford to look acting on Sushma this time. It will put the party on back-foot and will give political opponents further avenue to attack the party on the issue. She is among the senior-most party leaders and ministers.

Removing or reshuffling Sushma Swaraj at this stage, midst this row, would send out a message that the BJP was convinced that Sushma did cross the ‘propriety’ line and committed an ‘unethical’ act and the party was pressurised to the extent that it had to remove her or cut her to the size.

While the RSS and the party have backed Sushma Swaraj and party spokespersons are busy in defending her on airwaves and in media, prime minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have adopted a stoic silence.

That is possibly the best strategy – to shield behind the time – so that the political opposition could taper off.

And everyone knows it, including the political analysts and the politicians across the spectrum.

Everyone is trying to squeeze in the maximum political mileage out of it – like happens with every issue in the Indian politics of the day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –