I don’t know if you saw the results of the Headlines Today poll on the Gujarat Assembly election. The poll was conducted a couple of weeks ago and the results were released on October 4. The election is still some time away and the pollsters did their work before the campaign got into full swing. So yes, it is possible to argue that these responses – and therefore, the results – are premature and that things will change significantly between now and election day. Read more

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How can you tell when a government is in crisis? There are the obvious ways, I suppose. You can tell that a government is in trouble when it is on the verge of losing its majority. When its coalition appears to be cracking up. When its MPs begin to revolt. And so on. Read more

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The attack on Prashant Bhushan, apparently because of his support for a plebiscite in Kashmir, shows up some of the fault-lines within the Anna Hazare movement. Read more

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I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember the Mandal movement. If you are, then forgive me because you probably know most of this already. Read more

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I grew up in the 60s and the 70s in a vaguely Lefty family. This was a time when the phrase ‘the ugly American’ was in common use, when the US was involved in unpopular exercises of its power (in Vietnam, for instance) and when the CIA was actively interfering in Indian politics (just because we exaggerated its influence, do not believe that the Agency was idle). Read more

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Let me say, straight out, that I do not accept the basic distinction that Amitabh Bachchan is trying to make between being a brand ambassador for Gujarat and a brand ambassador for Narendra Modi. Read more

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Reactions to the photographs of Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari cavorting in bed with three young girls have gone to extremes. I’ve heard people say that Tiwari’s behaviour was revolting and that he should be sacked for sleeping with women who were young enough to be his granddaughters. Read more

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Among all those who represent the BJP on television, there is nobody who is more articulate than Arun Jaitley. It helps that he is a politician of the television era who has found a new constituency in the viewers of the news channels. His critics say that he needs to fight a Lok Sabha election. But Jaitley’s supporters know that a TV news constituency is pan-Indian and, therefore, much larger than any parliamentary constituency. Read more

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How much good do party spokesmen do when they appear on television? A spokesman’s job is not just to present his party’s point of view but to do it in a manner that sounds reasonable and manages to convince neutral or undecided voters. Read more

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Have you been watching the election programmes on television? If you have, then you will have noticed a curious phenomenon: the relative absence of Hindutva/right wing voices.

Programme after programme, it is still Swapan Dasgupta and Chandan Mitra who appear on TV to give us a BJP perspective. Sometimes, we get Ashok Malik. And occasionally, there is Praful Goradia, though I am not quite sure that he really understands where the BJP stands. And that’s pretty much the lot. Read more

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