Last week I attended a very convivial literature festival organised at the Technology City, Bengaluru, by a group of young enthusiasts. Normally, as happens in such gatherings, there is a very thin separating “literature” from current affairs. I was therefore not very surprised to find myself — along with three other Delhi-based journalists — as a speaker on “Polls 2014 and their message.”
The kindest thing that can be said of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s indifferent performance in the series of byelections since the general election last May is that they are a pointer to the significant role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ensuring the decisive Lok Sabha outcome.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been judged harshly by his contemporaries for his unending failures to protect the integrity of his office. In plain English, he was too often a pushover, succumbing to pressures from the dynastic owners of the Congress Party and their unpalatable representatives.
Engaging-with-Pakistan has been one of Delhi’s big growth industries over the past 15 years. Apart from domestic investment (both from the public and private sectors), it has attracted generous quantities of foreign direct investment, despite not having much to show by way of tangible returns.
It is amusing to witness the alacrity with which many English-language publications in India are fast turning themselves into a dumping ground of term papers of American universities. From wide-eyed doctoral candidates to lesser-known expatriate academics, there is an unseemly rush to pronounce judgment on facets of Indian public life.
If finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech was as crisp and focused as his post-Budget interview to Doordarshan, it is almost certain that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s many supporters and well-wishers would have had an extra bounce in their steps.
Success and failure often depend as much as what one side does right — both tactically and striking the right notes — as what the other side does wrong. In the three weeks since he was anointed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, a move that set the terms for the 2014 general election, Narendra Modi may, arguably, have faltered twice, and both times at his mega-rally in Delhi on September 29.