Politically speaking…

Politics is not a dirty word

Posts Tagged ‘BJP

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 ūüôā NOT OUT is my call.¬†You the reader, please be the umpire ūüôā ¬†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. ūüôā 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

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AAP… embrace with caution

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After Delhi election results things look so different that it warrants some study. After winning 28 seats Aam Aadmi Party looks like breath of fresh air. Non-corrupt, full of fresh blood, young minds and lot of passion. Hardly visible in existing parties. Even if we write off congress, BJP is the same old party with just Modi on the top of the campaign. BJP also has lot of dynastic leaders in it. By going through list of 70 candidates in delhi we can see sons of VK Malhotra, Sahib Singh Verma etc. We can see that repeated in every state. BJP is equally bad as far as dynastic leaders are concerned. So is true about corruption. Considering that AAP looks like refreshing change and something that is worth welcoming with open arms. But some digging is required here as well.

So some background. Vyavastha Parivartan was the mul-mantra of the Aam Aadmi Party. Their birth was the result of Janlokpal movement (I also participated in it). Entire movement was to get the Janlokpal. UPA and parties playing politics never passed it. Politicians vouched for supremacy of parliament and prerogative of assemblies to pass the bill and almost forced the movement to take plunge in the politics. They did and now AAP is the second largest party in Delhi. Movement just wanted foothold, but recent election results got the door wide open. Situation is such that AAP has veto and is also in a situation to form government if they wish. BJP, the largest formation can’t govern without the blessings of AAP.

But as BJP is playing politics of appearing moral and trying to see if the repoll along with Loksabha elections can take them through mid-way, so is the case with AAP. AAP is also hoping to get votes of those who were AAP sympathizers but were reluctant to vote for AAP for the fear of wasting their vote. If AAP as they claimed were interested in vyavashta parivartan and change, can’t get better than this. While in the past people who never captured power brought change here you are in a position to actually affect change. But no. We want re-poll.

Why? Because you want power? Nothing wrong with that. If capturing power and bringing change only after that is AAP’s goal then we have to measure AAP not only by their honesty but also by the ideas they re-present and policies they will implement. AAP’s idea is honest government with lot of extreme left policies. It is a socialist congress with more leftist bend with honest pursuit of social equity. The same socialist congress that has brought the country to the grinding halt. Corruption yes, but it’s more the policies of freebies that has brought this country down to 4% growth rate. (Read first part of this excellent article by Surjit Bhalla http://www.indianexpress.com/news/why-the-bjp-loves-aap/1205588/0)

In summary AAP has raised the bar of the game. AAP will capture the space where there is political vacuum starting from Haryana and some parts of UP as well. It’s the new congress party of middle class (probably of Indira era when interest rates touched 97%). While the BJP is hoping for impressing the voter with Modi’s face without changing what lies beneath it will be forced to do so very soon.

Written by goodapostate

December 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

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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) Р5 (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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Political management using technology

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When I saw BJP’s¬†http://www.india272.com/¬†site I was pleasantly surprised at political party’s ability to bring in technology to try to change the political landscape in India.¬†

Even if the effort is not fully materialized it gave me ideas which I thought are worth sharing.

Technology as enabler not for the sake of it.

If you see http://www.india272.com/ is good looking site with some real punches with it. Will it be effective in changing outcome? I doubt it.

Why? 

  • Action is on the ground not on the web

Yes, you can say you have to create ‘hawa’ online also but to sustain it for 10 months is tough task. Site or app should be used as tool rather than utility.

  • Tool without hands

What any site provides is tool. You need hands to use it. Similarly someone has to take leadership run with it. Probably create organisational hierarchy. With existing party members. And set agenda. Do follow up. Update information etc.

  • Technology for ground reality

Any technology that we apply should solve real life problems. What should be the objective of the technology employed? To mobilize voters to vote on the day of polling. Keep them informed on the way and motivate them to participate in the political activities and have them stay invested in the outcome of the poll. Does current site do it? 50-50 or less I would say.

  • Final product

So, now we know objective of the tool probably we can roughly outline what it ought to do.

  1. App and site should be as intuitive as possible as most users will not be tech savvy 
  2. Tool should work when user is offline 
  3. Tool should provide me mobile connectivity
  4. Tool should collect information till booth level
  5. Tool should have task creation, follow up, deadline, update etc
  6. Tool should have role based access
  7. Users should get feel of community ability to look for volunteers in every booth in entire country
  8. There should be leader for each booth who can set up tasks voter enrollment, meeting, events, preparing marketing material and distributing it etc. etc.
  9. Volunteers can update their tasks. Suggest new tasks.
  10. There should be physical meeting at booth level with 20 week agenda
  11. Whole purpose of the tool is to enable all volunteers to participate in the massive effort to mobilize voters. It has to happen on the ground. Tool has to enable that. i.e. Sending minutes of the meetings, Sending reminders etc.
  12. When user signs in s/he should get sense of accomplishment, sense of things moving etc. Ability to reach out at constituency, state or even national level coordinators
  13. There should be a mobile APP that allows accessing all this information
  14. Mobile APP that should download data when installed and should have auto sync when user connects to network as there may not be data network available all the time

Without these kind of features it will be just wishlist and also ran kind of site.

There is potential and it’s worth exploring.

Written by goodapostate

August 3, 2013 at 1:49 pm

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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

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