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Bharataiya Janata Party (BJP)

Will Didi flex muscles against Modi?

PASCHIMBANGA Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, popularly known as Didi, is very fond of flexing muscles. She first demonstrated her muscle power by opposing the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh in 2012. Manmohan, then heading a coalition government, returned to Delhi without signing the highly publicized Teesta agreement. Didi triumphed. During the last general election, Didi challenged the Election Commission (EC) for ordering the transfer of four IPS and three IAS officers in Paschimbanga without consulting her. She publicly declared,...


Importance of being an extremist

Importance of being an extremist

AMIT Shah is a new word in the Sangh parivar jargon. It means loyalty. Shah is, without any doubt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Man Friday. But what differentiates him from others is the blind faith he has in his master, Modi. Amit Shah was given the task to polarise the biggest state of...


Switching over to Hindi?

I am convinced that the Narendra Modi government is guided, if not goaded, by the Hindi chauvinists. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has several liberal leaders who realise that the pace of switchover to Hindi would have to be slow, keeping in mind unity in diversity. Apparently, they do not have much say. Within the very first fortnight of Modi's regime, the central government offices have received a circular that Hindi should be used on social media. This is an...


Modi's Republic

Modi's Republic

It is always a pleasure to listen to Dr. Raja Mohan's talk. It is not only interesting it is so convincing that you have to agree with almost all of what he has to say. And I could not take issue with what he had to say yesterday in his talk entitled, “Political...


Modi back to his agenda

WHEN Narendra Modi broke down during the election campaign while hailing the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), a pro-Hindu outfit, as his mother, I thought it was an emotional outburst. And I felt assured when he said after becoming India's prime minister that he would take along with him all the 125 crore Indians on the path to development. But as the party unfolds its programme, I find that it is only a cover-up of the divisive strategy that the RSS...

Praful Bidwai Column

An unbalanced cabinet

NARENDRA Modi's oath-taking in the presence of 5,000 invitees at a ceremony unprecedented for its grandiose style and pomp resembled a King-Emperor's coronation more than the installation of the prime minister of a democracy. It was of a piece with the extravagance of his multi-billion-dollar election campaign.   He invited the heads of South Asian governments, including Bangladesh. This was welcome, although purely symbolic. In substance too, Modi's cabinet choice resembles centralised decision-making around one person in states where chief ministers...

The new Right: Europe and Asia's neoliberal shift

NARENDRA Modi's ascension to power has brought with it volumes of articles and opinions published about the fate of India under the BJP's leadership (a party with clear links to RSS, which many view as its puppet-master). While the hardliner, nationalist image of Narendra Modi might just have to be daubed in a dash of diplomacy, there is no denying the shift from the left of centre UPA-led government under Congress to the right of centre government in place...

Indian Muslims: Neglected and lagging behind

THE numbers tell you half the story. At over 138 million, Muslims constitute over 13% of India's billion-strong population. That make India home to the third largest Muslim population in the world. According to a study by the Pew Research Centre, India will probably have 236 million Muslims in two decades time, on par with Indonesia (which has the world's biggest Muslim population). Muslims in India outperform their neighbours in Pakistan and Bangladesh on some social indicators, such as...


Hindutva-capitalism takes power

INDIA'S election has produced the worst possible outcome: a majority for the BJP under a man widely believed to have been complicit in mass killings of Muslims, and not yet exonerated by the legal system despite its vulnerability to manipulation. Make no mistake. Despite a limited (31%) vote, Narendra Modi's victory represents a Rightward social shift, and the triumph of Hindutva plus neoliberalism. It's an ugly scar on the face of democracy, produced by long-festering pathologies, including communal prejudice, belligerent nationalism,...

Modi's cabinet

Modi's cabinet

Narendra Modi's council of ministers is the leanest ever with 44 members. India’s next Home Minister Rajnath Singh, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has taken oath as a cabinet minister immediately after Modi. Next up was Sushma Swaraj who will be External Affairs minister. She will be assisted by former Army Chief General...

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