Bihar Elections – A Lookback – India would be “suddenly tolerant” again

It was almost comical the other day (almost a week now) on counting day for Bihar Assembly elections. News channels like NDTV were calling the elections in the NDA’s favor as early as 9 am. It now appears that in their haste to ‘break’ the story first, they might have been led to a waste. Leads are not results and they can change dramatically and change they did. Almost an hour later, things took a complete U – turn with the JDU led alliance racing ahead. By day end, they had a 2/3 rd majority of the Bihar assembly.

So, what led to the BJP led NDA downfall? Hard to pin point exact reasons. But the most clever part of the JDU alliance was that the scope for division of opposition votes was Nil.

Secondly, the narrative in the build up to the elections was that of ‘an intolerant establishment at the centre’. Unrelated and isolated incidents of violence and crime were somehow being linked to the central government. Scarily, all this was done purely on the basis of conjecture. XYZ incident happening at a certain place (the fact that it came under the rule of an altogether different government was cleverly ignored) involving an ABC victim who happened to belong to a minority community and who is rumoured to have eaten beef. And since the PM who is so talkative doesnt condemn this attack, he is somehow complicit with the perpetrators. And this is what makes the government intolerant.

I mean there are million holes in the above argument being peddled by the ‘intolerance gang’ as there are stars in the sky. First of all has the crime been investigated thoroughly for you to come to the conclusion? If not then what is being said is pure conjecture and hearsay. If this is the yardstick to every crime then on the basis of conjecture one would be able to spin any story which suits one interest and milk it to the fullest. Secondly, is the PM expected to comment on all acts of crime in the nation? Ofcourse not. Thirdly, shouldnt accountability be fixed on the state governments also ? If the central government is implicitly complicit in the act of crime so is the state government. Fourthly, is it the only act of crime in the country ? Fifthly, does a single act of crime make the entire nation intolerant? Sixthly, why is this selective picking of incidents for raising the intolerance pitch?

Isnt Siddaramiah governments stand on celebrating the birth of Tipu Sultan against the wishes of many Kannadigas an act of intolerance too ? It resulted in loss of one life in Madikeri. Shouldnt awards be returned now ? As i write this, Paris is being decimated by terrorist of ISIS. Shouldnt it be altogether strong reason to return awards? Isnt tolerance under threat now? But the ‘award wapasi’ junta would be in party mode now getting sloshed as their job is done with the elections in Bihar coming to an end. No more wapasi of awards for now. Their next project would be before Assam elections if at all some new tactic isnt designed by then. (Remember the “church attacks news story” ?).

With the Bihar elections done and dusted, one things for sure is that India would be suddenly and miraculously become tolerant again 🙂

Bihar Polls – The final lap

Midnightbreakfast blog had highlighted here the falling graph of Nitish Kumar. His moves and tactics over last 2 years have been illogical and irrational to say the least.

His severing of ties after Mr Narendra Modi was announced the PM candidate and lead campaigner was seen as suicidal. Being with BJP for more than a decade and then suddenly severing ties on the pretext that BJP is communal just didnt  make sense and defied all logic. The thorough lashing he received at the hands of the Bihari voter in the general elections made him make another blunder by installing Jitan Manjhi obstensibly to consolidate the EBC votebank and gain sympathy backfired when the “co-operative” Manjhi rose to challenge Nitish’s leadership. With much effort Nitish managed to get rid of Manjhi in the process alienating the EBC votebank who is now firmly behind Manjhi. His subsequent collaboration with Lalu was the final straw. Nitish had represented the antithesis of Lalu’s misrule. By aligning with Lalu all that is undone bringing back memories of the ‘jungle raj’ which Lalu had come to represent.

The results of Bihar poll would be do or die for both him and Lalu. Like Nitish, Lalu too is fighting from one feet in the coffin. The high pitched fight for Bihar is yet difficult to call. One version of the likely results is here

The caste arithmatic was sensationally ditched by the voter in the general elections of 2014. It remains to be seen how the voter reacts this time. A win for the NDA would cement the notion. Jobs and more jobs has to be the only issue but sadly in these elections it has got drowned out in the heat, dust and noise of poll campaining.

Beef hullabaloo !!!

Came across this piece in Swarajya. The author, Aravindan Neelakandan, opening paragraph, “After the Dadri incident, the politics of beef has taken a central stage in Indian politics like never before. Just like the 2002-Gujarat riots were made the first-riots in the era of politicized TV channels, the Dadri lynching in 2015 has become the first beef controversy in the era of social media and digital networks. Media has succeeded in making an isolated event, probably with localized causes including personal rivalry, into a national debate on beef and cow slaughter.” is sharp.

Indeed an isolated act of crime and law and order with arguably totally different causes has been hijacked by a section of the media into a raging debate. Its a grim reminder of the ‘Modi is evil’ days of watching televised “debates” where Modi used to be the sole topic of discussion for the media as if they suffered some kind of Modi OCD. I guess despite such efforts, the fact that Modi was elected to the highest post in the country shocked these Modi hating people out of their senses.

Along with a bunch of random writers / poets / film makers there are historians like Irfan Habib whosinterview in ToI is nothing less than shocking. Making unsubtantiated and baseless claims he goes to ridiculous levels to make his argument. Even the publicity hungry RBI guv have jumped onto the bandwagon of pointing out the rising incidents of “intolerance”.So why referring as public hungry??? Isnt the mandate of the Guv to restrict himself only to his domain ? ? Happened to read his speech given at the convocation ceremony of IIT – D where he himself admits to the ‘moral hazard’ he is up against as such speeches are typically forgotten soon. So to make it unforgettable he has to say something out of the ordinary. And voila .. !! You add fuel to the already raging “make believe” fire stoked quite competently by the countrys main stream media. By doing this you ensure that you stay in the limelight and also earn brownie points with your potential employers (his term ends in Sep 2016). And this definitely isnt the first instance whereby he has tried usurping limelight. I am sure this wont be his last. Then there is Moody’s. Lesser said the better.

What started out with the Maharastra govt implementing an old law has been quickly morphed into a communal issue by the media. Sane voices like the ones of even veteran journalists who argue that its an unnecessary controversy have been drowned out. Random law and order events have been linked. As if its a pre meditated strike. Random writers / poets / film makers who were in deep slumber when the country withstood assaults from terrorists and even other fundamentalists who even stopped Salman Rushdie from attending the Jaipur litfest or even Taslima Nasreen who faces constant threats and assaults. The above mentioned random writers / film makers / poets would see a surge in credibility if they return their awards in protest of these events too. But the selective outrage and amnesia they follow just makes them sound hollow or what Anupam Kher points out as ‘farzi’.

Glad to see a growing list of famous personalities who have rose up to sharply criticise the above mentioned random artiste’s. Eminent personalities like Madhavan Nair, Vidhya Balan, Anupam Kher, Mark Tully all have sharply criticized and referred to the theatrics as “manufactured”. Then there are Padma awardees like Physicist Bikash Sinha who have lashed out against the “Awards Wapasi Gang” that returning awards in such a manner is “an insult to the country“. Playwright Daya Prakash Sinha says“Where were these people when Kashmiri Hindus were being thrown out of their homes, during the Emergency or the anti-Sikh riots? This is selective sensitivity that is mostly against PM Modi, just to malign him and deliberately tarnish his international reputation,“Infact a campaign called as ‘Jawab Do’ has been planned on November 7 to question the selective outrage practised by these artistes. 

Midnightbreakfast blog has highlighted how biased reportage is a gaining momentum these days. Unverified information is quickly highlighted to sensationalise and blow something out of proportion. Curiously, they coincide elections (current instance coincides with the crucial Bihar polls). Law and order problems should be dealt with severely. Highlighting only certain criminal acts and linking them to totally unrelated issues and then generalising them is pattern getting established.