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Election 2014

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It’s the most important general election for the nation as they say. Everyone feels that they have influence and they can change the outcome of the event. This sentiment is on display every night on news channels. Quite ambitious and egoistic sentiment. Media has very little influence at least in influencing the outcome of election. What they might have is influence in fixing deals just as radia tapes revealed. In this event they are mostly spectators just as everyone else. I would say, it has influence in urban centers of India that too only in Metropolitan centers particularly on apolitical crowd. Why? One, if apolitical they don’t have much context and history. Second, they are mostly naive at least in this matter. As we can see people who would have never voted are now out in full force trying to change the system. Everyone wants to change the system. Everyone wants to have their version of India. But who gives fuck? The guy on the road has very little time for this intellectualisation of simple issues that affect his daily life. Now that’s where media has got it all wrong. Your ideology is not that people are interested in. Neither in your opinion or intellectualisation. We want to see (or if time and mood permits read) little bit of reportage, if you oblige.

 

Anyways, now if this is the most important general election country has ever had whom should I vote for?  And what should be my priorities?  Let’s see. Who can improve macro economic trend and get the fiscal deficit in control? Who can rein in inflation and increase the export? Who can get more FDI in infrastructure and create jobs in manufacturing sectors? Who has better monitory policy to reduce current account deficit?  Who can create better relations among states and federal government? Who is better placed to navigate the emerging geo-political situation in south asia? and who is better placed to find India’s place in 21st century? Now that’s how you complicate the discussion you see. I like street side discussion better.

 

Ah! Whoever serves my selfish interest should get my vote! Isn’t it that simple. My Grandmother told me once that she would vote for Rajiv Gandhi because he increased pension for railway employees. So on same line I would vote for those who will make personal income tax 0%. But that’s not going to happen. Well as I see I need very little of Government. And whatever I need it for is actually at municipal level not at national level. But what about inflation and low growth? Yes, that affects me. Bombs going on and off as it was the case in 2008. Yes, that scares me somewhat. What else is there that affects me directly? Good highways, probably better air connectivity, bullet trains, private trains, better transport in the city (That’s again municipal issue) Electricity! 24 hours is what I want. Water. Potable water! It’s shame we as a country are incapable of providing safe drinking water. Nice, what else? I don’t have kids but education! Better trained engineers will help me hire easily :). What else do I want from my central government? Can I renew my passport in a day? If I already have passport why does it take a month or year to renew it? Better tourist places? All the places that I have visited and I have visited quite a lot and most of them are filled with garbage. They are dirty, filthy and littered with plastic. What else? Better shopping experience may be. Why not let more foreign brands come! Cheaper gadgets. Why TV is twice as costly compared with say Dubai?  So that’s about it. As the song goes… chhoti si asha.

 

So, who can give all these? Well Congress has certainly failed in last 3-4 years. They lost their way since 2G scam exploded on their face. And if we vote for them again it would be encouraging non-performance as we fire non-performing employee we must let this government go. Besides, they are anti-middle class. They threw good money after bad money. Had very little focus on middle class. If you see all their flagship programs all of them were directed on non-middle class (mis-directed because none gave any tangible outcome). Except JNNURM. So whom should I vote for? Modi! Both the detractors and lovers of the man who has made the election as referendum on his work on Gujarat. While media is hell bent upon making it a referendum on him. But that may or may not materlise is a different matter. He is asking for vote based on his performance in Gujarat in last 10 years. He deserves a chance! All he has talked about is development and growth. In fact he Everything else is just noise. And probably people have made up their mind. But I needed to put it on paper to clear my thoughts. Yes, I don’t agree with BJP’s stand on Multi brand retail and article 377 on gay sex! But that’s not a deal breaker. Let’s get Modi. I too think I can influence the outcome 🙂

But I am not voting! Can we get postal ballot?

 

Written by goodapostate

April 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Politics, cricket and bollywood

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Poll bugle is sounded and dates are out. Country is going to decide who will rule takht-e-dilli for next 5 years. Present rulers are struggling to remain relevant but winds of change are blowing hard. It’s clear that change is coming. Heir apparent is not in contention. It’s chieftain of Gujarat or Baniya of Delhi, who are fighting it out. This season get entertained by Kejriwal and Namo instead of Saas bahu.

Indian public is loving this season. We are the umpires, spectators, and commentators. Politicians are performing either on the field or off the field as cheer leaders. It’s just tamasha. And we love them. Everyday appeal for wicket is made in terms of scams or complaints or runs are scored by giving vision of developed country or corruption free republic. One example, Yesterday video of Kejriwal and Punya Prasoon Bajpai of Aajtak was leaked and immediately entire BJP machinery was out complaining match fixing. Entire episode is something like this. Imagine Shahid Afridi is bowling and 6 fielders are surrounding Ravindra Jadeja. Ball hit the Shoulder and Akmal caught it and now entire 11 plus the crowd is going mad appealing for wicket. And we are loving it 🙂 NOT OUT is my call. You the reader, please be the umpire 🙂  Now to extend the analogy. Appeals should be believable, slightly doubtful and plausible. Otherwise umpires will give benefit of doubt to batsmen where none exists. Not because they want to but because those who are appealing have lost ground by making frivolous appeals.

BJP thinks it’s war of old order while it might be just IPL season for Indian public this time as well. It was 9th March and as per my friend’s ground report when he went to register as voter there was nobody at the counter. 🙂 So that’s where we are.

BJP has same old tired faces but it is hoping to win the game by just changing the captain. It’s more like hoping that Salman khan will carry the film irrespective of Cast, Direction, Story, Music and Dialogs. It may still do but then those who are looking for Anurag Kashyap’s level of film will be disappointed at least in near term. On the other end AAP is hoping that they can get in super six stage with 1 player team. And our old Congress is hoping that they can release something not so bad that can stop Salman making 200Crores.

Circus has just started and we are loving it already. We have stakes in the game but we don’t believe anyone can perform miracles. So those who are claiming to be magician by removing corruption or making India like US. Yes, good try. Or those who complain that Nazis are coming or Anarchists are coming. Again good try. But we have stopped buying into emotions and we are ruthless evaluators who work on self interest. And that’s great for our democracy!

So those who are partisan should go on the ground and try to convince those who will vote! Not those who are here for entertainment. You look like clown!

Written by goodapostate

March 10, 2014 at 5:56 am

Is AAP Janata Party 3.0?

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Some AAP supporters claimed what has happened in Delhi is revolution and it has never happened in India. That’s factually incorrect. It is not right to compare past events with the present because things are never same.  People  change, circumstances change. But revolution of much larger scale happened in 77 when Indira Gandhi was thrown out of power by Janata Party lead by Jayaprakash Narayan. It happened at the all India level while AAP’s revolution has happened only at the state level. Yes, the plant has potential to be banyan tree. But it’s just a plant as of now. In 1989 VP Singh lead Janata Dal brought Rajiv Gandhi’s government down  (Janata Party avatar 2.0). The difference between AAP phenomena and previous events is AAP is predominantly represented by the politically inclined youth not part of any party. In 77 and 89 established political leaders, who were in public life for decades led the movements. You can say Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and others are also political activists or are from occupation that’s political in nature with enough experience in organising events and carrying out rallies etc. But they are not part of the establishment. That’s the difference.

Anyway, AAP will see influx of people and leaders joining the bandwagon. AAP has open the door to many who are politically inclined but has no place to go. As Congress is more or less family controlled, lucky sperm party even at taluka levels and BJP is very hierarchical starting from ABVP days. It’s difficult to get the lateral entry into politics in India unless you are celebrity of some kind. AAP has opened shop with solid brand equity. Many people will join. This is great news for Indian democracy. Fresh blood, new talent, lot of raw energy will be on display. AAP for next couple years will be very interesting phenomena that will unfold in India’s political landscape. But will that change India for better? Yes, indirectly. It will make other parties sit up and take notice. At least national parties won’t be able to run affairs in business as usual manner. Impact is already visible the way Rahul Gandhi intervened in Lokpal and later in Aadarsh report. Even before elections BJP was forced to name Dr. Harshwardhan, more likeable leader as CM candidate and after the elections it didn’t indulge in horse trading to form the government. Now BJP has announced shadow cabinet to monitor AAP’s work. That’s very welcome change. AAP has already started playing role of catalyst in that sense.

But AAP as a party of idea is nothing more than cleaner version of JDU or RJD, both are left over fractions of long dead Janata parivar. That’s why I consider them as Janata party 3.0. Comparison here is not about talent, motive or organisation but strictly speaking about their ideas. Consider how many times Arvind Kejriwal thanked Allah and Ishwar in his swearing in ceremony [1]. (Atheist thanking gods in the most important speech of his life so far. Can it get more hypocritical? But that’s different topic) Consider Kejriwal courting Tauqeer Reza Khan (who declared fatwa on Taslima Nasreen) before election [2] and now Kamal Farooquie (member of AIMPLB who claimed Bhatkal was arrested because he is a Muslim, not because he is IM terrorist) joining AAP [3]. Consider on day one he is talking about 30Cr subsidy to provide free water [4]. Consider on day one Manish Sisodia saying private schools are not for making profit [5]. As we can see AAP basically is party with with simialr socialist ethos.

My close friend Vishnu who volunteered with AAP told, “Hope is AAP’s base that is urban middle class. Hopefully they will force party to take reasonable position”. Honestly I don’t have much hope. Consider Kejriwal himself. His entire political upbringing is with Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander. Socialists to the core. Consider Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra yadav. Same. Though foot soldiers have no ideology they forget that their leaders do. Whatever they claim on their party’s website.

There are enough articles already written by eminent people on AAP policies. You can read them here, here, and here.

But on larger question of what are the top 3 things that needs to change immediately for India? What role AAP will play?

1. End of crony capitalism (Remember we need capitalism with fair, transparent, and open regulations unlike current rent seeking that Congress has indulged in in last decade). As we will see later AAP won’t be able to do it. It’s not in their thinking. They may oppose or expose crony capitalism but they can’t propose solution. BJP with Arun Shourie as disinvestment minister during NDA regime initiated the process hopefully they will take it forward during their second term.

2. Police & Judicial reforms: SC has already given judgement on police reforms but it has not been implemented by the states. Without gaining influence in major states AAP can’t hope to have impact on this issue. On Judicial reforms some serious action is required here and hopefully AAP can force others to take position as in lokpal movement.

3. Infrastructure: What country needs is massive investment in physical and social infrastructure. Physical infrastructure like ports, roads, railways etc and social infrastructure like access to  health care, sanitation and quality education. AAP’s thinking is against privatisation and without private money the scale at which country needs to build infrastructure to come out of the trap of 3rd world country is almost impossible.

Finally, if you have political ambitions, it’s good time to join AAP. It’s limited time offer. It’s like start up after series A funding. 

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/assembly-elections-2013/delhi-assembly-elections/Once-atheist-Arvind-Kejriwal-thanks-god-calls-it-miracle/articleshow/28047228.cms, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_o4GQL2cQc,

[2] http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2013/11/11/fatwabaaz-and-politicians/ http://www.ndtv.com/article/assembly-polls/cleric-who-issued-fatwa-against-taslima-nasreen-may-campaign-for-arvind-kejriwal-441919

[3] http://ibnlive.in.com/news/sp-sacks-kamal-farooqi-as-secretary-over-his-yasin-bhatkal-remarks/419853-37-64.html

[4] http://www.hindustantimes.com/specials/coverage/myindia-myvote/chunk-ht-ui-myindiamyvote-delhi/kejriwal-s-first-day-as-delhi-cm-holds-aam-darbar-transfers-jal-board-ceo-8-other-officials/sp-article10-1167280.aspx

[5] https://twitter.com/ANI_news/status/416890958844665856

Written by goodapostate

December 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Is it RSS or Modi that is leading BJP charge?

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In last one week events transpired gives some indication of current state of affairs with in BJP and parivar.

For example, Supreme Court set aside order of Delhi high court and made 377 valid and in turn re-criminalized homosexuality. AAP, Left, Congress came out against SC verdict almost immediately while BJP took its time to give its official response. In the end response was homophobic, regressive and utterly medieval. Modi didn’t utter a word on it. Rajnath Singh, made the announcement and on the same day Ram madhav of RSS endorsed his stand. Anybody can guess what might have transpired behind the scene.

In case of Lokpal as well, Mr. Modi’s apparent absent from the scene is clearly visible. Modi didn’t make any intervention.

These are very early days to evaluate Mr.Modi’s style of leadership at central level. But two incidents gives some indication of current scheme of things in the BJP. Though Mr.Modi clearly represents right of the center policy, which is exact opposite of dole politics of the Congress, RSS has enough Swadeshi supporters to shame even Marxists for their left leaning, socialist ideology.

Youngsters who are pinning hopes on Modi might be in for many surprises if Mr. Modi let the RSS dictate the terms of his government, should he come to power. At the moment Modi might be consolidating his position with in the party, and he may be saving his ammunition to fight bigger battles later on. But Modi should take some clues from Indira Gandhi’s battle with in Congress in 69. Because BJP is carrying lot of dead weight on its shoulder right now.

It’s true that AAP might not have big impact on Loksabha election of 2014 but it is certainly changing the way urban India looks at politics in near future. In the new scheme of things to dismiss AAP phenomena as delhi specific event will be a mistake. BJP is equally unprepared as congress to tackle AAP. At the moment BJP is hoping that it will get anti-congress votes by putting Mr.Modi’s face.

While Modi talks of privatisation of railways, BJP in the past has hesitated to spell its economic policy clearly i.e. It opposed FDI in multi-brand retail. It is going to interesting internal battle for Modi to win.

Written by goodapostate

December 18, 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in BJP, congress

Tagged with , , , ,

Election, Statistics, and Technology

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After looking at india272.com it has just opened up my mind to the possibilities of to have connected society to bring change which can be quite transformative.

It’s just amazing to think about the possibilities this idea is carrying in its womb.

It has possibility of bringing millions of user on the political arena. It has potential to transform Indian society from being recipient of Govt’s efforts to participants in Govt formation and day to day governance. It can also make BJP truly democratic party.

That itself can create immense opportunity for everyone. But let’s talk of what it can do for 2014 election alone.

Statistics & Technology: Finding the ground

1. BJP already knows what seats they lost by thin margins in last 2 elections.

2. BJP already knows where their support base lies

3. BJP also knows where their potential seats lie

Take data from site like IndiaVotes.com or ECI  and rate each constituency on the scale of 1 (sure win) – 5 (no hope). Where BJP needs to focus is on seats between 2-4. Maximum effort should go in 3 to ensure margin seats are won and then on 4 to try to capture seats which can theoretically be won. Then on 2s to make sure no blunders are made.

How technology can help? Help find seats and booths where they should focus on and in what capacity they should invest in.

  1. Rate each assembly segments and then each booth of these constituency also in the same way. This gives us the contour of the current situation.
  2. Also mark each booth on whether it’s urban or rural segment as well (O)*
  3. Also mark each booth on its caste, religion composition (O)
  4. Take another table and rate each caste and religion in every state and rate them on favor-ability scale (S)
  5. Now enter details of voting pattern percentage of total voting and votes received by BJP in last 5 elections (O)
  6. Consider candidate details like caste and results in each seats in last 5 elections (Winnability of BJP in last 5) (O)
  7. Caveats to add at each seat level if applicable (Events which were not of permanent nature but had impact on the outcome)

Note: (O) Means objective data with no bias involved (S) Bias can lead to in-correct results

Now we have 5-7 axis on which we can do clustering of booths. We can have booths that can be divided in 5 categories. Weight for each axis requires some real insights in to electioneering and is critical factor. Probably needs to do some experimentation with clustering exercise. Basically need to dissect data in multiple ways to see different patterns. As Indian society elections are complex it’s not 1+1=2 game. Probably this exercise can be restricted to few bellwether seats initially.

Now this may provide insights into booths where

1. Voting % needs to increase (Favorable to BJP but low voting booths)

2. Needs to win over local caste leader or candidate selection may have impact (High voting booths but fluctuating over time. Or caste combination is not very favorable)

3. Need to enroll volunteers (BJP’s traction can increase with ground presence)

Let’s say from first exercise we have classified each booth in the country on the scale of 1 to 5. Now what are the actionable insights we can get.

Technology to work on results of 1. Consider Scenario-2:

Take constituency that fall in category 4 and 5.

Booths with favorable parameters like urban center, high potential to find sympathizers etc. If india272.com becomes the tool that works on ground level with leader in charge of constituency, coordinator for each assembly segment down to booth level. Plus BJP leadership should endorse and support this endeavor. If it’s not mission critical effort it will not yield desire outcome. Target should be to get at least 10 volunteers for category 5 seats (Potentially BJP members in future) per booth and 2x for each category up-to level 1 seat. By doing this it is ensured that there are troops at ground level for each booth. That’s remarkable.

Now the requirement is to

1. Ensure two way communication

Induction of volunteers is required. There are enough fence sitters and it requires some missionary response. There should be weekly or bi-weekly meetings at booth level. With agenda set initially from the top. India272.com with SMS/Calendar integration can actually send SMS to all volunteers. Minutes of the meetings e-mail, SMS reminders, SMS weekly agenda to each volunteer.

2. Ensure sense of belongingness and sense of purpose

Volunteers should be able to meet and know who all are associated with the mission. More the merrier. People just get excited by seeing so many people on the ground. There should be first formal meeting that tells how many people are joining, where we are meeting and what’s the agenda. Even in Google with all offices having so many VC units physical meetings are mandatory.

3. Ensure that action is tangible, movement is forward

Once physical meeting has happened have action everyday online either through SMS, email alerts or whatever way possible. There should be enough action on India272.com that it becomes default place to check along with email. Co-ordinated effort by senior leaders to post their itinterary, speeches, agendas, op-eds, videos, etc.

4. Ensure volunteers stay connected

Volunteer should be able to call coordinator or tall free number and update his/her status if s/he is from remote area. Each volunteer should get task list, and coordinator should ensure it’s updated. Coordinator should call every volunteer every week to ensure people know we care. People will lose interest after initial outburst of passion. To sustain it for 20+ weeks is tough requires sustained effort. Everyone should update their call status, meeting status, agenda update. In remote constituency it might require more field work hence require mobile app to help coordinators. Paper work and then converting it to digital copy will not work. App should be in indian languages.

5. Management of the mission

There should be bird’s eye view for each constituency and it can be public information as well in all democratic sense. Coordinators, volunteers should get points and visible recognition on the site and elsewhere. Leadership should be able to track action, reach volunteers, and focus on getting message out. Imagine volunteer in Balia getting call from Rajnath Singh/Modi and getting congratulated for his/her effort.

What it can do beyond 2014 is just mind boggling. But parking my thoughts for later.

Written by goodapostate

August 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Posted in BJP, election

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FDI, Bandh and politics of it

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UPA government in center woke up from  2 years of hibernation that they went in after successive scams of 2G, CWG, Adarsh, Coal and others. Government finally took policy decision to allow FDI in aviation and retail, increased diesel prices and reduced subsidy on LPG cylinders.

In reaction TMC withdrew support from the government and opposition called for strike on 20th September.

Barring few editorials there is complete lack of debate on these issues. In matured democracy these issues and their implication should be discussed and debated at length. Instead what we have is emotional cry from both ends.

Inability of the two major political parties, BJP and Congress, to articulate their stand on these issues and debate it in meaningful way shows how superficial today’s politics has become.

Neither opposition is asking Government nor Government is articulating its policy in detail. Why foreign money is good? Or why it is bad? Are we going back to era of East India Company or are we going to allow money, skill, technology and efficiency of foreign companies to improve overall retail business and supply chain in India? Will government ask MNCs to procure their goods from India? Or will they compete with Tatas, Ambanis, Adanis and others on equal footing? Will MNCs get undue advantage and dump foreign goods in India? Or will they have to buy items from local producers and sell at MRPs? There is no clarity about these points.

BJP and other opposition parties are playing to the fear of countrymen in bad economic environment. It might work to their advantage. But what country needs is not bandh but informed discussions, engaging countrymen on important issues just as it happened during Lokpal.

And thats where todays politics failed while Anna’s movement succeeded. It succeeded because it was honest in its approach, steadfast in its belief and open to discuss each and every matter related to Lokpal.

Any sensible party who wants to be credible alternative should take cue from it. They will gain more credibility by engaging with citizens and building opinions. They may see Bandh as good instrument to create impact and play to the gallery but is no alternative to being responsible and mature opposition.

Written by goodapostate

September 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

Posted in BJP, congress

Tagged with , , , , ,

Politics of satyagraha, double cross, and blunders

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Baba went on fast claiming it to be a satyagraha. Satyagraha or tapasya as he put it of 14 hours a day fast. Baba and government reached 99% agreement before he sat at ram lila maidan. So what was the need to sit on satyagraha? Why government kept mum till 4th evening that they have reached agreement with Baba. What about BJP and RSS? Did they found massiah in Baba?

Well it’s story of double cross by government, baba and sangh.

Governemnt: In retrospect government was never serious about joint lokpalbill drafting committee (LDC) exercise. Agreement was more to contain the fallout of protest than any seriousness on their part to bring tough anti corruption law. Government wanted to fold up the drama of lokpalbill drafting committee. First they tried to discredit Anna and his associates with corruption charges. When that didn’t work and found themselves in difficult situation. They found the instrument in BABA to undermine the credibility of ANNA and his associates. Strike deal with baba, show him bigger than he really is and do hell with anna.

BABA: Baba may not want to be a king but he looks like a person who will enjoy being a king maker. He declared his aspiration to be in political arena by announcing that he would start his political party. Anyways, when government agreed to LDC, case can be made that he wanted to be accommodated on the LDC. When he raised the issue of nepotism of 2 Bhushans on LDC eyebrows should have been raised. Looks like in his own scheme of things he struck deal with Sanghis who were desperately looking for platform to gain credibility. Nationalist, Saffron clad baba was perfect for them. I don’t know what government offered to baba, but BABA apparently fell for it (after seeing the letter that Sibal released on 4th evening).

Sangh/BJP: They needed much required credibility to re-occupy oppoisition’s space they gladly conceded to Anna and others. They also needed shoulder from where they could fire as they couldn’t strike chord with masses on the issue of corruption. BABA was perfect instrument. It was win-win for Sangh/BJP with baba compared to apolitical Anna. If baba succeeds BJP can claim credit if BABA fails BJP can make him martyr as they are doing rightnow.

So what went wrong? Well congress hoped Baba will enjoy his day of limelight and call it off  in the evening as agreed. But, BABA didn’t play by the script and wanted to enjoy to media attention may be for couple of more days. Government got pissed and released the letter. Which in turn made BABA lose his cool and announce that he will continue fast. Government lost nerves or in order to prove its virility attacked.

It was politics and what is happening is also politics. But by attacking BABA at 1am in the night government is at serious disadvantage.

REFERENCE:

14 hours a day fast: http://t.co/z5DrImy

Walk the talk: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/walk-the-talk/the-matter-starts-with-lokpal-bill-but-doesn-t-end-there-baba-ramdev/201522

Sidhi baat: http://aajtak.intoday.in/videosection.php/videos/karyakramsubsec/1/84

Sibal on baba’s broken promises: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/video-story/201672

Baba’s camp on why they signed letter: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/why-we-signed-controversial-letter-ramdev-camp/201737

Written by goodapostate

June 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Posted in baba, BJP, congress, ramlila