Ashok Malik

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Ashok Malik can be contacted at malikashok@gmail.com

The scary P-word

One of the mysteries of the speech finance minister Arun Jaitley read out while presenting the Budget on July 10 was his refusal to mention the disinvestment target for 2014-15.

The great game

It is easy to dislike N. Srinivasan. The new chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and suspended president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a megalomaniacal air about him. While there is no evidence of personal financial corruption, Mr Srinivasan certainly has a lot to answer for.

Waiting Game: Atal Bharat Ratna

Two occasions in the coming months, Independence Day and Republic Day, will give the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government the opportunity to confer national honours such as the Bharat Ratna.

Amby: A symbol of failure loved by most

Ghatsila is a small town in Singhbum, Jharkhand. In the 1970s, when Ghatsila was still part of Bihar, my father travelled there on work. A technologist, he had been assigned to inspect some mines in the region. For one of his trips from Calcutta, where we lived, he decided to drive the 250 odd kilometres to Ghatsila and to the nearby mines.

Modi and Muslims

On the evening of May 16, in his first major speech following the BJP’s victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Narendra Modi spoke in Ahmedabad with his trademark mix of passion, humour, pungency and emotion. He referred to the role of the government and how it could not distinguish between those who had voted for it and those who hadn’t, and how it stood for and owed a responsibility to everyone and to every citizen.

Kashi’s Hero No. 2

Who is going to finish second in the parliamentary election in Varanasi? This question may be of only academic interest, as the victory of Narendra Modi from the constituency is more or less certain. However, for political watchers and those familiar with the electoral calculations of Varanasi, the question is nevertheless a subject of fascination.

The state of play in Uttar Pradesh

Twenty-one of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies have now voted. Ten of these seats saw polling on April 10 and covered “sensitive” Muzaffarnagar — where religious violence resulted in killings and internal displacement a few months ago — and neighbouring areas such as Aligarh, Saharanpur and Meerut.

Imagining India after Modi

If the May 16 Lok Sabha verdict is along predicted lines, India could be headed for a busier-than-expected state election calendar later this year. In October a slew of major states — Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Haryana — are due to go to the people.

High on morality, low on maturity

Two questions have arisen following the rolling back of the ordinance designed to protect legislators convicted of crimes and save them from immediate disqualification. Since the Union Cabinet essentially bowed to pressure from Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice-president, the first point relates to whether a government can be held to ransom by just one individual.

Despite being a hack for more than three decades, I am yet to be invited for any political iftar party. Thereby, no one can accuse me of holding a grouse against any leader for not marking an invite to me. Throughout his 13 years as the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi never hosted one, breaking a tradition that his predecessor Keshubhai Patel followed.

Rarely in a diplomat’s career is one lucky enough to have a posting that is important and interesting, combining the elements of classic diplomacy with the new tools of development diplomacy, new media and social networks. Israel and India established full diplomatic relations just 22 years ago during the time of P.V. Narasimha Rao.