A SHARIF TAKES AWAY SHARAFAT (DECENCY) OF ANOTHER SHARIF!

Nawaz Sharif became Pakistan’s prime minister for the third term in June 2013. His party had emerged as the largest one the national general elections held in May 2013 but fell short of six seats from the House majority threshold. Later, 19 independents joined his party and he formed the government with a simple majority. It was a historical first for Pakistan – power transition from a civilian government to the next – after a democratically elected government from the 2008 elections completed its term.

Since Nawaz Sharif was seen as an influential and strong leader in Pakistan’s politics and since Pakistan was going to have a democratically elected government for possibly another five years, the world had expected that Nawaz Sharif would take forward the democratic transformation process and would be successful in reducing the political influence of the army.

Something that was going to be the biggest challenge for next chief of the Pakistan Army – General Raheel Sharif – that how to clip Nawaz Sharif’s wings. Raheel Sharif took charge of the Pakistani army in November 2013.

It means Nawaz Sharif had the early mover advantage and a window of six months to make his moves, to fix his equations and to repeat the history of 2008 and 2013.

The world knows that creating and maintaining India’s terror in the mindset of Pakistan’s population has become its army’s lifeline. For this, it goes to any level of propaganda, fear pyschosis and war mongering. Irrespective of what was in Nawaz Sharif’s heart, he chose to target this lifeline to consolidate his grip on power. Narendra Modi invited Nawaz Sharif and other SAARC leaders for his government’s oath-taking ceremony and it looked as if a new chapter in India-Pakistan ties was about to be written. It came with positive vibes. Nawaz didn’t meet the Kashmiri separatists during his visit, a clear departure from the past tradition which saw every visiting Pakistani dignitary meeting the separatist factions from J&K. it was further extended and we saw mangoes and sarees exchanged. Moreover, the Ufa joint statement, released by India and Pakistan in July 2015, had no mention of Kashmir, again a clear departure from the policy adopted by Pakistan in the past.

Though some small incidents and war of words did happen during this period, on a whole, the message that went to the world was that a personal chemistry was developing between Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif and this would take care of such small skirmishes. If the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was the privileged guest of Nawaz Sharif’s family, Narendra Modi took a sudden detour to wish Nawaz Sharif personally on his birthday on December 25 last year while returning from Afghanistan. Such incidents were indicative of that developing personal chemistry.

But then we should not assume that, in the meantime, the other Sharif (Raheel Sharif) was not doing anything. Not at all!

Raheel Sharif knew that he was behind Nawaz Sharif by six months and he needed to move swiftly – but with meticulousness and detailing. And though he was always busy making his moves, as indicated from time to time by ceasefire violation, terrorism and infiltration incidents in Kashmir, Ufa joint statement and corruption allegations on Nawaz Sharif, especially after his name figured in the leaked Panama Papers, gave him the opportunity he was looking for – to make his final move – to deal the final blow – that would again tell the people that Pakistan is still the real dominion of its army. Equations changed rapidly after it.

Raheel Sharif prepared such a concoction of Ufa, corruption and Kashmir that Nawaz Sharif had no option but to swallow. And to help Nawaz Sharif, there was popular opinion swing in army’s favor owing to incessant terror attacks in almost every part of Pakistan. Add to it the anti-corruption appeal, on which even many political parties openly advocated the clean-up required by the army, Nawaz Sharif suddenly had an adversary who was efficiently crushing him. But Raheel Sharif did it systematically – from 2014 to 2015 – from 2015 to 2016 – no jumps. It is only that Nawaz Sharif realized it too late.

Raheel Sharif first got the India-Pakistan national security advisors level talks cancelled in August 2015. Then got Pathankot terror strike stage managed by Pakistani terrorists and left Nawaz Sharif to bear its cost. Next he fuelled unrest in Kashmir and left names like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, who are in India’s most wanted list, to run amok and openly spew venom against India.

How long India and Narendra Modi could have taken it?

Narendra Modi gave Nawaz Sharif more than enough chances but it was Nawaz Sharif who left Modi midway and abandoned the aura of decency he was trying to put on ever since Narendra Modi had invited him to his government’s inaugural. If Nawaz Sharif had his political compulsions and political survival to finally plunge in anti-India politics to appease his domestic audience and army in order to save his corruption ridden government, Narendra Modi, too, had compulsions of answering to India’s people who were increasingly growing uncomfortable of Pakistani designs. Raheel Sharif had half succeeded when he had co-opted Nawaz Sharif. He was fully in the game when India said enough was enough and no more talks with Pakistan till the guns went silent.

Now that India has unleashed a diplomatic offensive on a tit-for-tat scale to raise Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan human rights violations to counteract Pakistan’s Kashmir rant, it has started unnerving the Pakistani political establishment. Nawaz Sharif is finding it increasingly difficult to convince the world leaders about his Kashmir rant. All this has weakened Nawaz Sharif’s position compared to 2013 and everyone knows that it can be the beginning of his end and the initiation of a full-fledged political role for the Pakistani army.

And whatever little decency Nawaz Sharif was left with, that also was taken away when Raheel Sharif made him deliver that rubbish speech with a flat, expressionless face to a UN audience during his UN General Assembly address on September 21.

Nawaz Sharif looked like some poor chap that day who was ejaculating words stuffed in his mouth by Raheel Sharif who used him as a pawn to convey the viewpoint of the Pakistani army. Nawaz Sharif totally looked and sounded spellbound by the dictation that Raheel Sharif had given him prior to his speech. Sharif gave 8 minutes of his 19 minutes UNGA address to Kashmir saying how disturbed the whole Pakistan is and how disturbed the humanity should be on the plight of the Kashmiri people. While explaining all this, an emotional stuff, not even a single emotion crossed from his face. Also, he didn’t mention the Uri attack that had killed 18 Indian soldiers, most of them sleeping, even though it has become clear that the terrorists had come from Pakistan. And to add more to his growing list of miseries (it doesn’t matter anymore if he did it himself or Raheel Sharif again used the pawn in him), Nawaz Sharif, from an official global platform, and that too the biggest one, the United Nations, chose to endorse someone who was self-proclaimed terrorist commander of a declared terrorist outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen. Now only both of these Sharifs can tell who gave them this wisdom, but it was certainly a bravado that is going to cost Pakistan dear and will haunt the nation for years.

And the writing has started appearing on the wall. Pakistan’s duplicity has not gone unnoticed.

Those who matter globally, no one has taken Pakistan seriously – be it Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, or John Kerry, the US Secretary of State or Shinzo Abe, the Japanese PM or leaders of the European countries including France and Germany. Russia, which is currently conducting a joint military drill in Pakistan, has strongly condemned the Uri attack and reportedly refused the Pakistani offer to carry out drill in PoK. Poor Mr. Sharif is screaming Kashmir-Kashmir but no one is taking him seriously.

The Pakistani army has been notorious for promoting and sponsoring terrorism and history tells us that it firmly believes in the saying that notoriety also makes one known. And as the days are passing, the prevailing geopolitical and sociopolitical equations suggest that Raheel Sharif may repeat the history. He has found success in the first phase of his mission. He has effectively made Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif chemistry a history and has effectively crushed the ambitions of Nawaz Sharif of emerging as an icon of democratic supremacy in Pakistan. If he was Pakistan’s democratic hope in 2013, in 2016, he is no more than a corrupt, weak and army-dependent prime minister.

It can be said here that a Sharif of Pakistan has taken away the rights of being Sharif (noble) from another Sharif of Pakistan.

sharif-sharifcollage

Featured Image Courtesy: Collage prepared from images taken from Pakistan PMO’s Facebook page and Pakistan Army’s website

©SantoshChaubey 

THIS TWEET IS INDICATIVE OF HEIGHT OF ANTI-INDIA PROPAGANDA IN PAKISTAN

Ever since Narendra Modi has asserted that India would raise and support the Balochistan issue and Pak-Occupied-Kashmir is legitimately India’s and Pakistan is illegally occupying it and future India-Pakistan talks will revolve around it, Pakistan has scaled new heights of anti-India propaganda back home and across the world where ever it can reach.

And it is reflecting in every level of Pakistani establishment and society. Be it leaders, its communication channels or its social media chatter, one look, and it looks they squeeze even the last drop of blood out of Indian existence. Anything that is good, is firmly censored and banned in Pakistan.

As this tweet from Radio Pakistan shows.

During his last address to the UNGA as the US President, Barack Obama said that ” China and India remain on a path of remarkable growth”. In fact, India was one of the few rare mentions in his speech which had nothing negative about it.

But see how Radio Pakistan, Pakistan’s national radio presented it.

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If you think it is a human error in tweet only, then here is the complete Radio Pakistan copy.

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Here is the portion of Barack Obama’s speech mentioning India and China.

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Anything and everything may be debatable but it shows one thing that mere mention of India in a positive light starts giving sleepless nights to Pakistan.

©SantoshChaubey

CAN MODI GOVERNMENT DO THIS COURSE CORRECTION?

Today’s is the third day after the attack on army base camp in Uri that killed 18 Indian soldiers. Terrorists attacked the camp early in the morning when most of the soldiers were deep in sleep. While saluting the soldiers and paying homage on their supreme sacrifice, the whole nation is understandably deeply disturbed and angry and wants Pakistan aptly punished this time. If many have advocated a direct war with Pakistan, it is a natural expression of that anger.

But a direct war can never be the answer to a proxy war that Pakistan has forced India into. Our policymakers and strategists realize it, especially when internationalizing Kashmir and showing India in bad light is the main aim of Pakistan’s diplomacy. Now that India is emerging as a global power and the world community has started taking notice of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India, attacking Pakistan would be like playing into its hands because it will immediately divert the world’s attention from Pakistan’s proxy war to India’s attack on Pakistan and Kashmir. So, even if the Indian Army has asserted to respond to the cowardly Uri attack, it has added that the response will be ‘at the time and place of its choosing’.

Also, we cannot forget that both, India and Pakistan, are nuclear powers. India can and will keep restraint but what about Pakistan. Its leaders threaten nuclear strike against India even on the slightest pretext. Just yesterday, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif again spoke of use of nuclear weapons against India.

In that case, the other alternative that remains is diplomatic offensive.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior minister of the NDA government, summed up the sentiments of the Indian establishment when he said that ‘after the Uri attack, the India-Pakistan ties can never be same again’. At the moment, India is deliberating on many alternatives. The major among them are curtailing diplomatic ties with Pakistan, strongly counteracting Pakistan’s Kashmir and anti-India propaganda and telling the world in a mission mode Pakistan’s atrocities and human rights violation in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir and Balochistan.

And the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that began today, can be the launch platform. Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address the UNGA tomorrow and Pakistan has said that it will use the UN platform and Sharif’s speech to tell the world how India is indulged in perpetrating atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan has been doing it for decades, sending its politicians and bureaucrats to different countries and world-bodies to raise the Kashmir bogey and spread anti-India propaganda. But there has been a desperate rush in these activities with the ongoing phase of unrest in Kashmir (that is again fuelled by Pakistan).

Now India has to answer it and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is ready that if Nawaz Sharif raises the Kashmir pitch in the UN, India will forcefully counter with evidence of Pakistan’s atrocities and human rights violations in PoK and Balochistan and Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India with the Uri attack being the latest example. And to extend her diplomatic offensive, India has already firmed up its strategy to reach out to every global platform. Last week, when Pakistan had tried to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council, India had vehemently rejected it, putting its stand firmly that the present phase of unrest in Kashmir was, like always, Pakistan sponsored. In fact, India should have begun on these initiatives much earlier. It is an established fact that Pakistan is behind terrorism in Kashmir yet we have failed in telling it to the world. Now the Narendra Modi government is talking of changing all this.

If we look through the years of India-Pakistan ties, we will find that barring few occasions, Pakistan has always been ahead of us in diplomatically ratcheting up the Kashmir issue on international platforms. India needs to shape up its diplomatic offensive keeping in mind ‘how and why’ of these lapses. It is totally unacceptable that we have failed to raise the PoK human rights abuses while Pakistan keeps spreading lies about Kashmir. It is disturbing that terrorists and criminals wanted in India are respectable citizens in Pakistan yet India never thought of extending the olive branch to Baloch, Sindhi and other groups who are fighting for independence from Pakistan. Showing the mirror to Pakistan and fighting and winning diplomacy at the level of diplomacy should be the guiding principle for India now. And PoK, Balochistan and Pakistan sponsored terrorism should be at its core.

Narendra Modi has made it clear that if there is anything contentious between India and Pakistan, it is Pakistan sponsored terrorism and PoK. Narendra Modi also made a much needed policy correction when he asserted in his Independence Day address on August 15 that India would support the Baloch activists and would raise the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan. So, a beginning has been made but the road ahead is unpredictable and the path is long. Let’s see how the Modi government carries out this course correction.

But one needs to keep in mind that a diplomatic offensive needs to be proactive and not reactive. India should not wait to react on Pakistan’s bravados. Instead, it should go full throttle in exposing Pakistan through its diplomatic offensive when we know that Pakistan’s atrocity and barbarism has continued unabated in PoK and Balochistan and when we have Baloch leaders and freedom fighter speaking against it from different global platforms. India should try to get such voices even from PoK.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA’S PAKISTAN POLICY AFTER UR: NEITHER WAR. NOR PEACE.

And it was perfectly captured in a statement of Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior minister in the Narendra Modi government who said that after the Uri attack, relation with Pakistan would never be like it was – that the India-Pakistan ties would never be same again.

In spite of all the rhetoric and jingoism about going to war with Pakistan, nothing of that sort is going to happen. It reflected in the statement delivered this evening by Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), Indian Army, when he said, “We reserve the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing. We have desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us.”

Yes, war is not a solution or logical option. India is militarily and economically far ahead than Pakistan. In fact, there is no comparison. But then we cannot forget the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. And when a poor and backward nation like North Korea can act with audacity based on its newly acquired nuclear deterrent, why would not Pakistan do so? And there has been a precedent. Even on the slightest pretext, Pakistan’s politicians go full throttle on nuclear war mongering against India.

So, the best way forward is to clip Pakistan’s wings indirectly – something like Indira Gandhi had done before the war that liberated Bangladesh in 1971.

Neither war. Nor peace!

Before the 1971 war, Indira Gandhi had gone on and sent her colleagues and bureaucrats on a global diplomatic offensive. It was a three pronged strategy. On one hand, the Indian Army was preparing for a war offensive to infiltrate and take over Bangladesh, while at the same time, she was busy promoting India’s stand as a peace loving country that wanted to avoid war with Pakistan.

The outcome of this diplomatic offensive, the most important element of her strategy, was the culmination of global support for India, when after a first desperate strike by Pakistan, India rushed its forces to the erstwhile East Pakistan that soon resulted in birth of a new nation – Bangladesh. So efficiently was Indira Gandhi’s handling then that even after the vehement US resistance, India was able to do what Indira had wanted it to do. The external threat and resistance that could have come from countries like US or China was effectively mitigated by winning confidence of the larger world including Russia.

India needs a global diplomatic offensive like that. But can Narendra Modi and his government do that?

Yes, there is intent, like Ravi Shankar Prasad summed up, that it can never again be the same walk with Pakistan. The hostilities have gone on a new high and the overall ties are a historic low.

But can they walk the talk?

United Nations General Assembly is in session and its principal event, the Annual General Debate, is beginning tomorrow. Pakistan has shouted over the top in telling the world community that it would draw the global attention from the UN platforms towards so called Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

HOW MODI’S PAKISTAN POLICY CHANGED SINCE HIS FIRST INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH

The article originally appeared on DailyO.

“I went to Bhutan, Nepal; all the dignitaries from SAARC countries took part in oath-taking ceremony; this marked a good beginning. This will definitely yield good results, it is my belief and this thinking of India, in the country and the world, that we want to do well to the countrymen and be useful for the welfare of the world, India wants such a hand to be extended (sic). We are trying to move forward with these dreams to achieve them.”

This is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said about his foreign policy priorities while delivering his first Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014. The words clearly told of a foreign policy vision that was taking shape and the thought of taking along your immediate neighbourhood seemed the immediate concern.

And when we talk about India’s foreign policy in its immediate neighbourhood, the first thought obviously goes to Pakistan with whom we have had a relation of more lows and very few highs since our independence in 1947.

So when Modi invited Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, along with other SAARC leaders to his oath taking ceremony on May 26, 2014 and Sharif warmly responded to it, bypassing any chance meeting with Kashmir’s separatist leaders, Modi received almost universal praise for his bold initiative to write a new script in India-Pakistan ties.

Modi certainly thought to give dialogue with Pakistan another chance under his charge in spite of the track record of Pakistan’s backstabbing.

The initiative seemed to work and a personal rapport developed between Modi and Sharif. There were exchanges of mangoes, sarees and talks between officials. It seemed some breakthrough development was in the offing.

Though there were many letdowns like ceasefire violaThat was the case till the Pathankot terror attack in January, 2016. He did not mention his SAARC initiative and his policy on India’s immediate neighbourhood and Pakistan in his second Independence Day speech from the Red Fort on August 15, 2015.

He committed a foreign policy coup with an unscheduled visit to Lahore to meet and greet Sharif on his birthday on December 25, 2016.

It was appreciated by the policymakers the world over as an innovative approach to take on the lingering coldness and hostility in India-Pakistan ties. And even after the Pathankot attack, this warm gesture continued as reflected in the easy access given to the probe team from Pakistan that had come to India to verify the “Indian allegations” that Maulana Masood Azhar and the Jaish-e-Mohammed were behind the attack.tions, cross-border firings, Pakistan’s high commissioner Abdul Basit’s insistence on meeting with the Kashmir separatists, and the rants on Kashmir by different Pakistani leaders, itBut things started deteriorating after it. There were conflicting reports that Pakistan had dismissed the evidence given by India. Though it has never officially been confirmed, we can say it is going to be yet another sham like the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks probe in Pakistan.

Pakistan has not responded to India’s requests to allow its probe team to visit Pakistan. The neighbouring country, in fact, has never sounded serious about probing the incident. On the issue of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Pakistan, along with China, brought together a group of countries that scuttled India’s chances.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has again ratcheted up its Kashmir-rant, especially after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter. Much to India’s (and Modi’s disappointment), Sharif and Pakistan have declared Burhan a martyr and funeral processions are being held there.

And like never before, wanted terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin are dictating terms, threatening India openly of dire consequences. It all, it seems, has made Modi uncomfortable enough to finally abandon his Pakistan policy that he had initiated two years back. It seems he has finally run out of patience. After two years of that initiative, we can now say that Modi’s efforts have proved futile.

Its first indications were seen when Modi justified his Pakistan policy by saying that owing to his efforts to reach out, the world was now clearly seeing through Pakistan’s sham and Pakistan was finding it hard to justify its stand on global platforms.

And on Monday (August 15), it became clearly visible when Modi took on Pakistan left, right and centre in his third Independence Day speech. During his over-90 minute speech on Monday, Modi connected threads to his first Independence Day speech by saying that he had proposed a common vision for India and its neighbours to unite and fight together the common enemy of poverty.

He clearly named Pakistan on Monday and detailed on how it promotes terrorism and how the world is now seeing through its tactics. He drew effective parallels with India’s sensitive response on the terror strike on the Army school in Peshawar in December 2014 and on Pakistan’s backstabbing, and doublespeak on promoting terror and fuelling unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

How detached Modi has become from his Pakistan policy that he had envisioned in May 2014 becomes clear from the fact that he is now trying to put the ball in Pakistan’s court by talking openly on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan as he did on Sunday (August 14) and Monday.

On Sunday, during an all party meet on Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Now the time has come that Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against the people in Balochistan and PoK.”

On Monday again, during his Independence Day address, he very categorically mentioned Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, thanking their people to reach out to India against Pakistan’s atrocities. This stand has come after two years of trial and error and we can say it is now going to define Modi’s Pakistan policy. seemed Modi was still hopeful. He never sounded overtly critical of Pakistan and used his words carefully even if his silence on Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India became a national talking point.

©SantoshChaubey

NSG DIDN’T COME INDIA’S WAY..AND IT WAS EXPECTED.

NSG didn’t come India’s way – and it was expected.

It is not at all a diplomatic failure. It worked where Narendra Modi has been burning his midnight oil – in strengthening relations with major powers like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, and so on – and all of them supported India’s bid. In fact, the US vehemently pushed for it.

It was the NSG’s 26th plenary and there will obviously be the 27th one. India’s NSG membership issue has been on the table for quite some time though India formally applied for it on May 12 only – something that set in motion a formal process. And mind you there was no direct no.

The members, in fact, agreed for more discussion on the issue and decided to lay down criteria for inducting the non-NPT members – the sole point of contention behind China’s ‘no to India’ attitude. That, in fact, is a win for India.

The gain that India got could be gauged from the fact that a special session was organized the last night to discuss India’s NSG membership request only even if China had said initially that ‘India’s membership’ was not on the agenda.

In Fact, barring seven countries (some reports say 10) – China, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Switzerland – all other countries in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) supported India’s entry into the grouping that represents major nuclear trading nations of the world.

More or less, this was the same block of the countries which was opposed to any exemption to India in 2008. Like this time, China was the major roadblock even then. And the sceptics were – Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, and the Netherlands. The NSG used to be a 45-nation bloc then.

The India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Deal or the 123 Agreement signed in July 2008 came after some intense negotiations before the NSG allowed exemptions to India – after a pledge by Pranab Mukherjee that India would not carry anymore nuclear tests. The NSG exemptions allowed countries to do nuclear trading with India – lifting provisions of the NSG and other export control regimes.

It made possible the 2008 India-US deal and paved way for further such agreements. Today, India has bilateral nuclear trading relations with France, the UK, Australia, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and some other countries. And the list is expected to grow as India is poised to grow – as Indian market needs an ever increasing scale of energy consumption for its growing economy that is slated to be in the world top three. And that means good business for everyone.

Yes, it is some worthwhile food for thought for another line of discussion that how Narendra Modi’s government committed another Image Management hara-kiri by blowing the incident over the top – as if it was the grand finale and India was going to get a grand entry in the NSG – reaffirming again that ‘Narendra Modi’ is the best thing to happen to India.

It was better as ‘India’s NSG push’. The government shouldn’t have allowed it to get ‘India’s NSG bid’ perception.

©SantoshChaubey

MODI GOVT @ 2: A DAY OF STATISTICAL TALES

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 – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TALKING POINTS ON ONE YEAR OF MODI GOVERNMENT

Given the state of political affairs and style of politics in the country, it is to continue. The Modi government will says it has done everything right and is well on the day to make an India it promised and its opponents will deny every such claim – on every pointer – in every sector – on each promise. After all, we don’t talk of and expect ethics and substance in politics anymore.

Narendra Modi then and now, when he took over on May 26, 2014 and what the indices say now, when Modi is completing his maiden year in the office. The usual flavour of the season will be made of the following elements:

— Major schemes of the Modi government – well, by any count, they are around 20, and could be even more – the most important part of the pro-people and anti-people debate

— Land acquisition in the first year – an important aspect of the pro-farmer and anti-farmer debate – high on agenda after the land bill ordinance by the government

— WPI and CPI trends – the monthly trends and the yearly performance – in May 2014 and now – will include debates on inflation, price rise and the state of economy

— Riots in one year – yearly data of riots – accordingly, religious controversies during Modi’s first year in prime-ministerial office

— Avoidable statements in one year – many by the BJP and the NDA leaders in last one year – surely a point where the government needs to work – the critics are expected to exploit the mileage

— Black money measures – it was a big election promise and campaigning point for Narendra Modi and though the government has not been able to bring the stash back home so far, it does have cleared a law to regulate the menace

— Cabinet size trend – maximum governance minimum government – size of Manmohan’s cabinet – Modi’s promise – and his cabinet now

— Foreign policy – with a prime minister circling the world with 18 foreign tours in his first year – a way to look ahead based on the record so far – India’s image does have improved – and so are the attacks of Modi’s political opponents

— How he dealt with Pakistan – he first invited SAARC leaders including Nawaj Sharif for his inauguration – then he cancelled India-Pakistan talks – it’s an year of no ups and more downs in India-Pakistan ties

— GDP in 2013-14 and GDP in 2014-15 – with contribution of each sector

— Sensex and Nifty then and now – the wealth created – the confidence in Indian economy

— IIP trends – IIP of May 2014 Vs IIP now – recovery Vs status quo Vs fall

— Rupee then and now – maintaining a downward trend these days – though is not attracting the intense debate

— FDI-FII in the first year – what were the figures when Modi took over there level now

— Foreign Reserve then and now – how much has it grown in an year since May 2014

— Reforms in one year – reforms stuck in the last one year – Indian economy and therefore Indian society cannot advance unless its policymaking is reformed – an important facet is about the bills passed and stuck in the Parliament

— Disinvestment then and now – part of the reform process – but not much on the front in spite of claims

— What Varanasi got in Modi’s maiden year – it is not just people in Modi’s parliamentary constituency but even analysts and political opponents are keenly watching the concerned developments

So, in Modi’s first year in the PMO, that he is completing tomorrow, as expected, there is much to talk about. And all of it has begun. And we are expected to hear more of them in coming days.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AFTER ALL, FIRST NON-CONGRESS GOVERNMENT WITH MAJORITY IS COMPLETING ITS FIRST YEAR..

Tomorrow, the Narendra Modi government, the first non-Congress government with majority, is completing one year in office.

Given the momentous nature of the event, the Modi government, the Bhartiya Janata Party and other parties of the National Democratic Alliance are celebrating the feet with élan.

Narendra Modi is addressing rallies. Arun Jaitley is issuing statements. MPs are visiting and are to visit constituencies and cities to spread the word about achievements of the government. Rallies, exhibitions and pressers are being organized and several events are to be held. The official version of rallies are to be from May 26 to 31.

And as expected, the political opposition is going all out to oppose the government, showing it in a negative light of failures, empty promises and plain rhetoric.

Given the state of political affairs and style of politics in the country, it is to continue.

The Modi government will says it has done everything right and is well on the day to make an India it has promised and its opponents will deny every such claim.

After all, we don’t talk of and expect ethics and substance in the politics of the day anymore.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RAHUL SPEAKS – #RAHULROAR VS #PAPPUMEOWS

I took three snapshots of Twitter today, for its India trends – at around 6 PM – at 7 PM – and at around 9 PM.

In the first two, though the hashtag #RahulRoar was number one, it was followed by #PappuMeows on number two.

But in the third, at 9 PM, while #RahulRoar was still at number one, I could not locate #PappuMeows. It was out from the trending list of Twitter for its India-wide trends.

While #RahulRoar is launched by Rahul Gandhi’s fans, #PappuMeows is launched by Rahul’s detractors.

Rahul Gandhi-6PM

Rahul Gandhi-7PM

Rahul Gandhi-9.30PM

While Rahul didn’t speak anything new in the highly publicised farmers’ rally yesterday, he looked and sounded more confident today, taking on Narendra Modi and his government – over the issues ranging from farmers’ suicides pushed up by unseasonal rains to the land acquisition act.

And his fans are buoyed by him today it looks – at least his fans who use Twitter.

But there are many beyond Twitter. And that includes his mother Sonia Gandhi and the political rivals of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government. While Rahul was delivering his speech the Lok Sabha the Budget Session of which resumed today, the faces of MPs surrounding him were worth watching. They were all elated as if Rahul’s sabbatical had extended its benefits to them as well.

It is 9:30 PM now, the time for the last Twitter snapshot of the day and #RahulRoar is still trending at the top of India trends, followed by the known IPL trend of #DDvsKKR at number two.

Rahul Gandhi-9.30PM

Will it change anything on the ground?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/