Most people will tell you that this has been a week of mixed fortunes for the Congress. On the one hand, the party won an impressive victory in Karnataka, crushing the BJP. And on the other, it was forced to sack two central ministers. So, the pundits will say, there has been good news and bad news and the signals are far from clear.

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Two aspects of yesterday’s bomb blasts in Hyderabad worry me. The first has to do with the identity of the bombers. Judging by past experience, it is probably fair to say that Indian investigators will not do a lot of detective work. In the case of previous attacks, various police forces have competed with each other to arrest the men they believe are responsible, without doing any investigation to actually determine guilt or responsibility. Read more

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Sometimes it is hard to believe that the UPA government, which lurches from crisis to crisis these days, is the same government that won a triumphant victory after a successful first term. And yet, the principal players are much the same. The few portfolios may have been changed but it is the same men and women who took the UPA through its first term who are in charge today. Read more

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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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Two things need to be said about this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. The first is that it was an exercise in spectacularly inept political timing. It is bizarre to shift the country’s home minister at a time when parts of Assam are still in flames and to replace him with a man who knows nothing about that situation and has never before held this portfolio. Read more

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So, was it worth it for Sharad Pawar and the NCP to raise the banner of revolt? Though the media breathlessly suggested the imminent break-up of the UPA, the crisis ended not with a resignation but with the tiniest of whimpers. Read more

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One of the advantages of studying English literature in school is that you come to grips with the themes of the great classics. The disadvantage is that school teachers go out of their way to make these classics so boring that you promptly forget all about them once your exams are over. Read more

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It makes you wonder about the times we live in — and the country we live in — when the news that the Prime Minister is going to talk to five journalists is such a big deal that it makes page one of major newspapers and is a headline on TV news. Read more

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