KABUL BOMB BLAST: AFGHANISTAN BLAMES HAQQANI NETWORK AND PAKISTAN’S ISI FOR ATTACK

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Afghanistan has blamed Pakistan for this morning’s deadly blast in Kabul that killed 80 and injured over 300. Tolo News has tweeted quoting Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) that the blast was carried out by the Haqqani Network with direct help of the ISI. No terror group has taken the responsibility so far while Taliban has denied any role in the attack. Taliban, in fact, strongly condemned the terror incident.

The Haqqani Network is an Afghan insurgent terror outfit based in Pakistan’s Waziristan and has carried out many high-profile attacks on US forces, high ranking Afghan officials and foreigners in Afghanistan. The network has ties with Taliban and Al Qaeda and the US considers it a major threat to Afghanistan’s stability.

A report in Pakistan’s The Express Tribune also corroborated the news break quoting Dawa Khan Meenpal, deputy spokesperson of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who told the US Government’s Afghan initiative Radio Azadi that “investigation was underway but the initial evidence suggested the attack was planned by the Haqqani Network with the help of foreign circles in Pakistan”. News agency AFP also confirmed that NDS has blamed the Haqqani Network and Pakistan’s ISI for the attack.

General John F. Campbell, then Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, had said in his testimony before the US’ House Armed Services Committee in February 2016 that “Haqqani Network remains the most capable threat to the U.S. and Coalition forces”. Campbell’s assessment said the Haqqani Network was behind “planning and executing most high profile attacks in Kabul”. Pakistan’s continued patronage to the network has been testing the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and the US has warned Pakistan to act to dismantle the Haqqani Network or it will act alone to eliminate it.

The Haqqani Network’s most high profile attacks include April 2008 Hamid Karzai assassination attempt, December 2009 CIA’s Camp Chapman attack killing seven US agents, September 10, 2011 truck bomb explosion in Afghanistan’s Wardak province that killed five Afghans and injured 77 US soldiers, September 12, 2011 attack on the US Embassy and NATO bases in Kabul, plot to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai again in October 2011 and series of suicide attacks on the Afghan parliament and western embassies in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave.

Just days into Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the deadly explosion in Kabul this morning killed 80 in one of the worst terror strikes in the war-torn South Asian country. Bomb concealed in a water-tanker exploded near Germany Embassy in Kabul around 9 AM local time in the highly fortified diplomatic enclave of Kabul that houses many embassies and the presidential palace of Afghanistan. The blast happened on a busy street with shops, supermarkets and office during peak morning hours with rush of office going people, shoppers and students and was so massive that many embassies, including Germany, Pakistan, Turkey, France, Japan, Bulgaria and UAE have reported damages. Some officials of German and Pakistani embassies have got injured and the Germany has closed its embassy in Kabul till further notice.

TERRORIST VIOLENCE DURING RAMADAN

The Kabul blast today is the first big terror attack during the holy month of Ramadan and if we see it in the context of the terror attacks during last year’s Ramadan, it may just be the beginning. Muslim holy month of Ramadan usually sees a spurt in terror strikes by Islamic terrorists and going by the reports, Ramadan in 2016 was the bloodiest ever with Islamic State claiming to kill and injured 5200 during the month long fasting period. In terror attacks spread over many countries, i.e., Bangladesh, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, hundreds of people lost their lives during Ramadan last year.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA CAN’T DO WITHOUT SUBSIDIES – AND IT WANTS TO TAX PROVIDENT FUND!

We are a nation where the urban poverty line is Rs. 47 a day while we think that the rural folks can survive at Rs. 32 a day and we arrived at this wisdom in 2014. When we had done so, we had graduated from the poverty lines of Rs. 27 in rural areas and Rs. 33 in urban areas. This is when you can’t arrange even a modest one time meal in Rs. 32.

This directly says the proportion of real poor, in qualitative terms, based on the average living conditions today, would be much higher that the projected figure of around 30% or less. When you go assessing this poverty mess keeping in mind ‘what should be and what is’, you see this is another equal India within India (or Bharat of the perennial India Vs Bharat debate).

Some 75% of Indians are without any health insurance cover. Majority cannot afford medicines for a sustained treatment regime, let alone the costly surgical processes. The attitude of doctors and support staff in the government run hospitals is even worse than scavengers. Finding good people there tougher than even finding God. People who can afford and can access, try to ignore the government run health facilities. And it across India including the metro cities.

Officially, India’s literacy rate is around 75%. But again, if we see qualitatively, it is the same old story of an equal sized Bharat within India. Our primary school system is languishing with deep holes and leakage in the ambitious Universal Elementary Education programme. Our higher education probably produces the maximum proportion of inept professionals and higher education graduates.

Our economy is consistently witnessing a falling gross savings to GDP ratio – from 34.6% in 2011-12 – to – 31.3% in 2015-16. One way to look at it would that people don’t have wealth in that proportion to save – something that is, naturally, very random and without substance. Or it means people are saving less.

But that doesn’t mean the government should use to a stick to discipline people – like the proponents of the EPF tax proposal including Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said – as a report the Economic Times put forward – “The government had justified the move by saying that it was meant to steer private sector employees towards a pensioned retirement by discouraging lump sum withdrawals, especially for, as experience suggests, conspicuous consumption.”

The finger is being pointed at it rightly – that who is the government to discipline us with our personal preference. Yes, it is good for us when we save more – but then, on a macro scale, it is good for the nation’s economic health as well. But, in the name of that, taxing a man’s life’s savings can never be justified especially when you give people dreams save taxes and build a corpus by investing in the Provident Fund scheme.

And from where this thought of ‘disciplining’ the salaried taxpayer came? When you have such ridiculous poverty lines, when you have millions poor to feed, when you have millions poor to heal, when you have millions poor to educate?

India and Bharat cannot become synonymous until we address these existential questions. Subsidy is now addressed as a ‘burden’ in the lingo being used by the economists but this ‘burden’ is lifeline for India’s millions poor who find it hard even to earn Rs. 47 or Rs. 32 a day.

The government is duty-bound to serve them first – with honesty – with integrity – with consistency. Taxing the middle class with another ‘tax burden’ would not serve any purpose here.

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

THE ‘VERY REAL’ POLITICAL POSSIBILITIES IN BIHAR NOW..

Based on questionable and condemnable past credentials of Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi regime of 15 years when Bihar had the RJD government – from 1990 to 2005 – termed Jungleraj by Nitish Kumar – and based on Nitish Kumar’s bitter relation with Lalu Yadav – that is just opportunistically suppressed at the moment (obviously, due to obvious political compulsions) – because we need to keep this in mind that Lalu had initially refused projecting Nitish Kumar as the chief-ministerial candidate of the alliance (read JDU-RJD-Congress-SP, as SP was then in the alliance) – and Nitish’s party has lost the tag of being the largest political party in Bihar assembly to Lalu’s RJD – a development that is ominous to Nitish’s style of politics – again based on the circumstances so far:

The JDU-RJD-Congress government would run smoothly: Now, this is the least likely scenario. But if it happens, it will be smoothest thing Bihar’s electorate can expect – provided Nitish Kumar finds himself free to run the government and Lalu, who cannot contest polls and cannot take any political office, as he is a convict in the fodder scam, will put his energy more in his and his family’s political revival.

It will become the RJD-JDU-Congress combine: Lalu, being the numero-uno of RJD may exact his price, making Nitish Kumar a follower and not a trendsetter. After all, if Lalu walks out, Nitish’s government will collapse – if Nitish doesn’t agree to compromise.

Nitish is most likely to have his deputy from RJD or from Lalu’s family and important ministers as well. Lalu will weigh heavily in governance decisions and Nitish will face trouble in taking decisions freely, like he has been taking so far, and in reining in the bad elements associated with RJD, the senior partner in the government.

In this case, Bihar can soon expect another round of assembly polls – if any one of the parties walks out of the alliance – again based on their own reasoning – that would, in turn, be based on their political revival of the past.

Nitish can split RJD: Now it is a known fact that RJD has no face but Lalu Yadav. His both sons are novice and his daughter Misa has no political experience. As Lalu cannot take any political position, it would be best for him to stick to the routine and let Nitish do his work. Otherwise, Nitish can easily split RJD to get the numbers to run his government, in case his ties with his Lalu sour. A party with mass no leader than Lalu, who is barred from taking office, would be an easy target to lure its members – in the name of accessibility to the power corridors.

Or it can be a JDU-BJP combine again: We all know the cliché of Indian politics – that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics – and going by the account of the long years of JDU-BJP alliance, there is no reason to think these parties cannot come together again – especially when Nitish would feel suffocated to run the government of JDU-RJD combine.

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

WHY IT IS NOT NITISH KUMAR’S WIN?

India won but Bihar lost yesterday.‪

Nitish Kumar may have scored a self-goal against ‪Narendra Modi but he is actually the biggest loser with ‪RJD emerging as the largest party – and with him the people of ‪Bihar.

JDU was always the largest political party in the Bihar assembly post Lalu-Rabri regime – but now the baton has changed hands – and it is now with Lalu Prasad Yadav – yesterday onwards.

And in spite of all the high hopes, the future looks scary – what if Lalu’s presence in the governance causes the same old malaise to return again?

Nitish and Lalu trace their origins to the same tree but Nitish took a different political streak to emerge as Lalu Prasad Yadav’s sworn enemy in Bihar politics – the sworn enemy that has been Nitish’s ‘friend of convenience’ for quite some time now – the ‘friend-turned-foe-turned-friend’ who was initially adamant on ‘not accepting Nitish’s projection as the chief-ministerial candidate of JDU-RJD-Congress alliance’.

Now, that ‘friend-turned-foe-turned-friend’ is Nitish Kumar’s big brother in Bihar’s politics – and he gave enough indications of it during the presser held last afternoon after the results. Not so long ago, everyone was busy writing political obituary of Lalu – and bang! – he is back in the game now – with a bang.

Well, Lalu, being convicted in the fodder scam, is legally barred from electoral politics and political office and his party RJD has no mass leaders except him – and that is the most plausible reason to make him go smoothly with Nitish – otherwise Nitish can easily split his party, a valid possibility – but that doesn’t take care of political necessities of the day to day politics – that doesn’t take care of the bad elements that have long been associated with RJD’s politics in Bihar – a system that Nitish Kumar famously used to term ‘Jungleraj’.

Even if Bihar was not on some highway of development, especially during Nitish’s second term, he really did bring fundamental and positive changes in Bihar’s governance and for that reason, he remains the undisputed CM choice of Bihar, but the numerical key of the government is with ‘big brother’ Lalu now.

With RJD lording over JDU, the threat of going back to the dark days of Lalu-Rabri regime are quite real. Nitish has this tough task of managing a difficult and unprincipled alliance with Lalu’s party and we hope he succeeds or else, we will soon have another round of assembly polls in Bihar.

Or would some sense prevail on Lalu’s style of politics now??

Or can there be political developments that will lead us to see another round of JDU-BJP bonhomie?

That is in future, but for now, Lalu Prasad Yadav has emerged as the only winner in these Bihar assembly polls.

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

MAJOR FACTORS BEHIND JDU-RJD-CONGRESS ALLIANCE WIN IN BIHAR POLLS

More of a BJP’s loss than Nitish Kumar’s win (or basically Lalu Yadav’s win): BJP is paying heavily – for not relying on local leadership of Bihar – for centralising power unnecessarily in party’s central leadership – for running a negative campaign and not focusing on development – for engaging in war of words and below the belt comments that Lalu Yadav did with much more efficiency the result proved.

A consolidated votebank against BJP: The anti-BJP alliance could successfully stop swing of its votes and could consolidate them further to transfer within the alliance. In the end, the alliance’s 44.6% vote share tells it was miles ahead to the BJP alliance’s 34.1%. A negative and personality oriented campaign (both by and against) did further consolidate the alliance’s votebank together. It also showed an effective alliance based on caste equations can effectively take on BJP if it remains intact. The OBC-Yadav-Muslim combine this time did exceedingly well for the grand alliance while BJP’s stand on issues like reservation and intolerance hurt its prospects deeply here.

Anti-reservation – anti-Dalit: Mohan Bhagwat’s comments about reservation, it seems, have gone deep in the psyche of masses. Even if RSS’ website prominently figures Bhagwat’s clarification on his ‘reservation’ remarks, the public, it seems, have refused to buy it. Another remark by the union minister V K Singh on Dalit lynching incident of a Faridabad village, drawing an ill-conceived ‘dog’ analogy, seems to have dented the prospects further.

Taking opposition not seriously: Now it seems so – as BJP has emerged as the party with the largest vote share. While Nitish and Lalu focused on ground level campaigning connecting more people – with small gatherings in large numbers – BJP still relied on technology to reach ‘virtually’ to the masses – that could not penetrate in the psyche of masses driven by compulsions and preferences of an assembly election. All BJP’s star campaigners were outsiders – Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitely, Rajnath Singh – and that seems to have backfired in a cleverly crafted and fought ‘Bihari Vs Bahari’ campaign by Nitish Kumar. Most of the Bihar BJP leaders were absent even from campaign publicity hoardings, banners and posters. The tech savvy team of Amit Shah could not match the intensive ground level connect of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav who held over 200 rallies each.

Also, BJP had no match for popularity of Nitish Kumar as the chief-ministerial candidate. Though Nitish has failed to perform like he could during his first full five-year term, he still was its undisputed development-oriented leader, and so there was no significant anti-incumbency against him. What helped him more was the fact the BJP was his alliance partner in the power corridors of Patna till June 2013 when Nitish broke the alliance over differences on projecting Narendra Modi as the prime-ministerial nominee of the alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

It was like the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 when there was no national leader to scale the popularity of Narendra Modi as the prime-ministerial candidate on different rating scales. And it happened so in Delhi with Arvind Kejriwal being there. But BJP could not learn its lessons. The other assembly elections that it won or performed well after the grand performance in the Lok Sabha elections last year had huge waves of anti-incumbency against the ruling parties and chief-ministers – in Maharashtra, in Jharkhand, in Haryana, in Jammu & Kashmir. Though Nitish did not emerge as the real winner, with RJD emerging as the largest party in the Bihar assembly with 80 seats, 9 more than Nitish’s JDU, the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance fought the election projecting Nitish Kumar as its leader.

Too much of tolerance Vs intolerance: Yes, the debate has engulfed the nation’s consciousness. True, we are a tolerant nation, a resilient one. But equally true is the fact there has been spate of intolerant activities from the fringe groups and from the voices within the ruling party and groups associated with it. BJP needs to think seriously about this problem now – about its loudmouth leaders and about practices like politics around cow and other religious notions. While the educated and middles classes were left in bad taste about such incidents – like the government’s attitude on FTII row and Gajendra Chauhan issue, on beef politics, on cow slaughter, on Dadri lynching, on ‘Ghar Wapasi’ and so on – the Muslim voters, who are around 15% in Bihar, and who could never trust BJP, ensured that they work to defeat BJP by voting en masse, not succumbing to the agenda based campaigning by likes of Owaisis.

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

WHY BJP LOST BIHAR POLLS?

AND WHAT IT TELLS ABOUT INDIA’S POLITICS IN THESE TIMES..

The second round in the political turf war between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar goes to Nitish Kumar and in an equally emphatic way as was Narendra Modi’s and BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha election last year.

BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JDU were long terms partners and shared power together in Bihar for over 8 years before Nitish parted ways in the name of ‘BJP becoming Narendra Modi’s BJP’.

It was the second election (barring bypolls) that the two political outfits fought as rivals and with this, JDU has equaled the score 1-1.

But what it tells about political state of affairs now?

Given the fact that the broad issues that the Bihar elections were pinned on revolved around caste, religion and community arithmetic, the outcome of the polls become interesting for how they would affect the further political discourse in the country on some issues doing rounds in the national consciousness.

— The poll result will, first of all, tell vehemently that the Delhi poll debacle was not an aberration but was a clear indication of things and days to come – an ominous signal which was conveniently ignored by BJP.

— The most worrying socio-political aspect of it is that the country is indeed going through a rough patch with real threat of communal and caste-based flare-ups if the fringe elements and intolerant voices are not reined in now.

— The message will be that people are not taking developments like FTII row or appointments to other institutions, JNU row, reservation policy row or the move to return national awards by eminent personalities to protest the surge in incidents of intolerance or the ongoing legacy wars to claim legacies of the political luminaries from the country’s past.

— After Delhi, the Bihar polls are again a direct testimony on BJP’s performance. The message is that the NDA government, so far, has failed to perform effectively on its promises of governance and development. BJP lost even in Jayapur in Panchayat polls, a village adopted by Narendra Modi in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. It will further reinforce the demand that people need concrete development now, not even a blueprint will do. There are valid questions even in Varanasi now where the city has seen no significant development in the last 18 months or so. Developments like making Banaras Hindu University a greater mess that it was earlier in, go squarely to the union government of BJP in Delhi.

— Narendra Modi now needs to do some serious thinking about his political branding and imagery, given the fact that the Bihar assembly election was basically a direct personal fight between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar from JDU. Nitish had left the JDU-BJP alliance in Bihar on NDA’s projection of Narendra Modi as its prime-ministerial candidate and had stepped down after JDU’s crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha election last year. Also, it is not about other BJP leaders but about Narendra Modi. People have given BJP absolute majority because of Narendra Modi and Narendra Modi will obviously be worried about his political legacy.

— We can soon see Shiv Sena walking out of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra. The alliance has been in consistent controversies ever since the two old alliance partners came together again last year. Shiv Sena, the big brother-turned-humiliated-junior partner in Maharashtra is freshly recharged from its gains in Maharashtra civic polls, the first big shot post Maharashtra assembly polls in 2014, the polls in which BJP has performed poorly. The ongoing war of words between Uddhav Thakeray, the Shiv Sena chief, and Devendra Fadnavis, the Maharashtra chief minister, may precipitate into something big soon.

— The outcome makes it mandatory for BJP to do course correction with its politics, especially in the light of the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab (2016) and Uttar Pradesh (2017) – with realizations and changed requirements post the debacle in the Bihar assembly polls.

— BJP’s alliance with SAD in Punjab is not so smooth and the party has lost every subsequent election in UP after the grand show in the Lok Sabha election in May 2014. If we go by the projections and different analytical reports so far, we can say Congress is going to win the next round of polls in Punjab and

— In UP, BJP still has no mass political leader and cadre. This is a space that the party has failed to populate so far, especially in the context that it had the grand opportunity to do so with the sky-high confidence that it got with the absolute show there in the last year’s parliamentary polls – winning 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats. And the Bihar assembly polls results tell why the party needs to focus on poll infrastructure at the ground level and development politics while effectively controlling the ‘fringe and intolerant voices’ – because once the UP is lost in 2017 – it will be a moral doom for the party to make a comeback in the 2019 parliamentary polls.

— And that goes with the socio-political imperative of the day that there will be more protests and intensified attacks on BJP and the NDA government on ‘politics around cow and religion’ about these ‘fringe voices spewing venom of intolerance in an otherwise resiliently tolerant Indian society’.

©/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/

MAY 17 SPEECH: NARENDRA MODI BEGIN ON A RIGHT NOTE IN VARANASI

When I see the pitiable condition of Ganga I feel pained but I feel it is Maa Ganga who has decided I have to do something for Her.

Need of the hour is to restore the glory of the Ganga. Today Maa Ganga is calling us, her children to make the river clean once again.

When Narendra Modi visited Varanasi on May 17 to thank the city for electing him with a huge margin, he began on a note indicative of the realization that he was well aware of the city’s expectations from him, these tweets tell us.

Varanasi and Ganga need immediate intervention at the highest level to justify the legacy of heritage they have.

The city is crumbling under the pressure of administrative and political apathy that has pushed the city’s infrastructure to the ignominy of being a Ganga city where the water of the Holy River is not fit for the Holy Dip.

And the problem has been compounded by the irresponsible attitude of its inhabitants.

Modi rightly reminded the city that it needed to change its course to get the city cleaned. His ‘paan and spit and stains’ anecdote is a universal problem of Varanasi that sums up how its inhabitants have contributed in giving the city a bad name.

On May 17, after offering prayers to Lord Shiva in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Modi headed for the Dasaswamedh Ghat to deliver his victory speech and he began on a right note.

While reminding the city of its responsibility, Modi, in an emphatic tone, assured the city that he would see to it that the Ganga and the city, ignored for decades, get the due, get the development, and prosper to justify the legacy of being the spiritual, cultural and religious seat of India and of humanity.

And Modi can be trusted, for his track record, for bringing development to Varanasi, something the city desperately needs, something for which the city has voted him in.

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

NARENDRA MODI BACK IN DELHI: FOCUS ON THE BEGINNING ON MAY 26

Two days were Gujarat centric in the national political scene. Narendra Modi resigned from the chief minister’s post yesterday. A new leader was chosen and Gujarat got its first female chief minister today. Like Modi, she, too, comes from a humble background and is a self-made person. Hopefully, the Gujarat story will continue unabated.

Also, given the kind of person and politician Narendra Modi is, he is expected to continue making his presence felt in Gujarat even while being in Delhi. It is bound to happen if Mr. Modi sees Gujarat as the laboratory that prepared him to efficiently govern the office of the prime minister of India.

Anyway, the business of political ups and downs and the minute-by-minute chaos is back to Delhi. Modi said goodbye to his Gujarat this afternoon and is in Delhi now to establish his base.

Reportedly, he was upset with lobbying for the ministerial berths. That may deter the further efforts at BJP or NDA level but the speculation over the sources based reports is going to make for the headlines till the final announcements come.

But that will not be something affecting him after the message of his ‘displeasure’ has been made public. What will be in his mind is delivering the message to the masses that he is reading into the implications of the clear mandate to the BJP, something that has put him in a firing line that will start hitting from the day-1. And to handle this, he needs to being fully prepared.

Indians have huge expectations from him and he would do all in the days he is set to begin with the nation as its chief governing officer, his acts, his words, his gestures and his decisions, to give the countrymen (clear) signals that Modi is serious about walking the talk and is already on the job.

Narendra Modi is going to take oath on May 26, 6 PM. In between, there are long 90 hours that Modi is going to exploit fully to make it as perfect a beginning as he can make.

Expect the developments toe the Modi line in the coming days, including the good enough number of symbolic elements and public outreach imagery.

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