There is a complete mismatch in what PM says and his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party, does. While his oratory is filled with messages of inclusiveness, unpalatable actions of the BJP and its associated wings cause unnecessary consternation amongst a section of the society thereby raising questions like, ‘Is there a hidden agenda?’. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are under their radar.

The dust in Aligarh, kicked up by the BJP insistence on celebrating the 128th birth anniversary of Jat King Raja Mahendra Singh on AMU campus, had barely settled down when the union minister from Fatehpur Niranjan Jyoti made an unwarranted statement during campaigning in Delhi. Her rural and poor background (as quoted by the prime minister while seeking pardon for her behaviour ) can hardly justify her use of abusive language in denouncing those who don’t believe in Lord Rama.

Behind both, the reasons are purely political. Ironically, in Aligarh the BJP saw the caste of the leader while coolly ignoring the fact that the Raja was also called Peter Peer Singh because he had imbibed three religions. The game plan was clear in Aligarh, to keep the Jat-Muslim wedge simmering till the 2017 Lok Sabha elections as the unity of the two dominant castes could prove politically dangerous for the saffron brigade.

But why defend the indefensible like union minister Niranjan Jyoti, whose popularity is waning in her own Lok Sabha constituency. But then how can the Prime Minister drop her when his party is out on its woo-OBC-Dalit mission. On this December 6, instead of observing Shaurya Diwas, the saffron brigade was celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti in Uttar Pradesh.

Now, we have this news about a conversion camp held in Agra.

On a day prime minister Narendra Modi won hearts at a rally in Kashmir by saying, ‘They want Android smart phones and not AK 47’, a group of Dharam Jagran and Bajrang Dal volunteers were converting 57 Muslim families to Hinduism describing it as the homecoming of those who had embraced Islam only 25 years back. Knowing the bullying character of these organisations, it is hard to know whether these Muslims were forcibly converted to Hinduism under their ‘Hindu Bachchao, Hindu Banao’ campaign.

While making it clear that these conversions camps will continue, the volunteers held hawan amidst Gayatri Mantra for the purification of those ‘coming home’ and handed over deity of Kali for worship.

The families were from Kolkata and claim to be happy with their new identities. The very next day, accusing Bajrang Dal of tricking them at a religious event denied conversion to Hinduism. But by then the rumour mill had started working across the country.

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The Uttar Pradesh government on November 18 allocated Rs 556 crore for toilets in state’s villages. Media was quick in linking it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign. Read more

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Where does the voter count in elections? Watching closely the Maharashtra political scenario, one can only say, ‘nowhere’.

Barely 22 days before Maharashtra goes to the polls, the two political groups were engaged in seat sharing talks. It’s not unusual for the political parties to bargain or bulldoze their way in seat sharing talks. Read more

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I recently read two news reports that came as a big relief to someone who has gradually, over the years, fallen in love with UP, my adopted state. Read more

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The day the CBI took over the investigations into Badaun rape cum murder case that made headlines across the globe because of the hanging of the victims from a tree, some confidence of the people was restored. Those who were crying for justice and had little faith in the state machinery were convinced that at least the investigations would be fair and reach a logical end. But that was not to be. Read more

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Politics is all about imponderables. On Jan 19, 2013, the Congressmen clapped and cheered Rahul Gandhi after he was declared the vice president of the grand old party. They saw their future in him. A day later, his emotional speech made many literally cry. Read more

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A few minutes before I started to pen my blog, a senior police officer telephoned me and said , ‘Rahul Baba is losing elections.’ Somehow I refused to believe him. How can Smriti Irani’s 30 days of campaigning and Narendra Modi’s 40-minute public rally in Amethi tear into Gandhis’ 28-years-long association with this area? The cop’s cryptic answer was , ‘This is what is called a wave.’ Read more

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I remember meeting a bunch of bold women activists in Harsil, Uttrakhand a few years back. They were crusading to protect trees and stop sale/manufacture of illicit liquor in the picturesque village right on the banks of Bhagirathi. Read more

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That the Uttar Pradesh government bungled in handling Muzaffarnagar riots and subsequent rehabilitation goes without saying. Or else the state even after spending Rs. 100 crores on rehabilitation would not have got so much flak for inept handling of the situation. Unwarranted statements by senior politicians and officers further worsened its credibility. Read more

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