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Sunday, March 2, 2014


By Swapan Dasgupta

A sting operation by a TV channel is said to have exposed some of the more dodgy players in one of the few growth sectors in an otherwise declining India: the opinion poll industry. The ‘exposure’ is absolutely warranted and may even contribute to a process whereby professionally designed and executed polls are distinguished from their made-to-order counterparts.

Not that opinion polls have determined the Establishment’s pre-election verdict as to which side will prevail in a general election. In my experience, there were only two occasions when the otherwise sharp instincts of the Delhi Establishment have been proved wrong. The first was in 1977 when there was general disbelief that Indira Gandhi could actually be defeated; and the second was in 2004 when a smug and over-confident BJP failed to gauge the devastation resulting from imperfect alliances in southern India. And yes, in 1996, there was genuine uncertainty—a fear that turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

With less than three months to go before the next Lok Sabha is formally notified, the belief in the governing circles of Delhi is that Narendra Modi is likely to be the next Prime Minister of India. From the speculation over numbers which dominated conversations a month ago, the interest these days is over the composition of a Modi Cabinet. In a cruel world where there is a rush to climb on to the bandwagon of the RPI (Ruling Party of India), the dynasty and the Congress have been unceremoniously relegated to the opposition benches—not least by Congress supporters themselves. As a former editor with Congress sympathies admitted to me last week: “The Congress is working towards ensuring a respectable defeat for itself.”

Of course, there are those who are still clutching at straws. A section of the “activist” brigade still believe that the Aam Aadmi Party will spring a national surprise and prevent Modi’s shift of residence from Gandhinagar to Delhi. And there are those who cling to the belief that the BJP itself—egged on by regional parties—will stage a palace coup in May and install a more “pliable” PM.

I am among the tiny handful with access to Delhi’s charmed circle that believes that no election is really won till the counting of votes end. Modi may well enjoy the initial advantage but it is only after the candidates have been announced and the campaign enters its final lap that a meaningful call can be taken. More to the point, I don’t underestimate the ability of the Congress to put up a fierce fight till the very last day. When it comes to political ruthlessness—as we witnessed during the passage of the Telengana Bill—the Congress is miles ahead of the BJP.

Indeed, the past few weeks have clearly indicated that the Congress is engaged in making contingency plans. Its first priority is, of course, to stop Modi at all costs, using every weapon at its disposal. However, after Ram Vilas Paswan’s U-turn and re-entry into the NDA, there is a feeling in Congress circles that this may not be possible. Indeed, the whisper is that things may actually get worse.

This leads to the second fall-back option: to make life as difficult as possible for a new Modi Government. Eyebrows have been raised at the peremptory transfer of the Health Secretary, the attempt to give the head of a major public sector undertaking an undeserved extension and even the last-minute nomination of a Rajya Sabha MP. Less publicised has been the frenzied activity to ensure that every vacancy for bureaucratic posts, committees, governing bodies and other posts where the Centre or its Governors in the states can use their discretionary powers are filled with individuals who, even if they are not pro-Congress are at least anti-Modi. So great has been the rush to clear names that intelligence agencies are believed to have complained that they have not been given the time to undertake due diligence. In the Ministry of External Affairs, it is said that appointments that are due six months or more later are being settled before the Code of Conduct comes into force.

With its long experience of governance the Congress knows that many of these last-minute decisions can easily be reversed by a new government. At the same time, it is aware that it may be many months (sometimes even years) before the proverbial attention of any minister is brought to the hidden minefields. There will be enough opportunities to trip up a new government in unexpected areas and create an impression of mal-governance.

Those with a political memory may recall that the first government of Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1998 was seriously hamstrung in its initial days by bureaucratic subterfuge. For example, the onion crisis that led to the ignominious defeat of the BJP in the 1998 Delhi Assembly election was a man-made creation of NAFED, controlled by a Congress appointee. Likewise, the diplomatic counter-offensive after the Pokhran-II blasts was hamstrung by the non-cooperation of envoys with an agenda of hostility to the Vajpayee government.

If Modi is able to translate his early lead in the 2014 race into a decisive last-mile surge, he will undoubtedly become the next Prime Minister. However, the belief that a new man at the helm will instantly translate into a new dawn for India may well be premature. The outgoing regime has left booby traps for the new regime in the most unlikely of places. The new PM has a challenging job ahead of him (or her). 


Anonymous said...

" When it comes to political ruthlessness—as we witnessed during the passage of the Telengana Bill—the Congress is miles ahead"

You said it ! Congress has always been the most arrogant party.

It is the same seemingly pro Muslim congress party that supported utterly worthless kamalhassan over his equally useless movie Viswaroopam. Manish Tiwaris , P.Chidambarams including DMK ( another deceptively pro Muslim unscrupulous party) as their agenda was to unleash communal riots in Tamil Nadu & to dismiss legitimately elected Jayalalithaa. Both dmk & congress had huge stakes. DMK wanted congress to bail it out of Spectrum scam. And P.Chidambaram has always wanted chief ministership for himself or his son. During his book release Karunanidhi said his "dream was to see one veshti clad tamilian becoming blah blah..... Suddenly one found bollywood dream merchants comprising of Amir Khans, Shah Rukh Khans, Farhan Akthars etc tweeting their support for this kamalhassan calling it "artistic freedom".

Thank God for highly perspicacious Jayalalithaa. Who checkmated them all. She did not play any religion card. She took the RIGHT decision which any fair minded person would have done.

I have immense trust in our Maker.
Hence I fervently pray congress & dmk are rendered extinct. Along with their sycophantic useless tv channels. Our Lord Ram's Sethu is endangered as long as congress & dmk , dk , leftists exist.

The world at large ALSO has a heavy stake in exterminating such useless CORRUPT indians. I do not think America would ever be in awe of devyani khobragade defending congress party.

Narendra Modi should stay away from all charlatans & watch the fun unfold. When people die mutter the congress's copyrighted "koondemn the dastardly attacks" & eat some thepla with chai.

I want Sri.Narendra Modi to lead this country. With Jayalalithaa too playing a decisive role.

That a lot of Indians would continue to suffer in many ways is NOT the fault of Modi & Jayalalithaa. Call it their earned 'karma'.

Tan said...

I may not be a Modi fan, but i'll say this. He is possibly the shrewdest politician in India today. The Bihar chaos was a masterstroke. That a zero MP party like LJP could cause such a significant shift in state political dynamics was brilliant..

Anonymous said...

What will happen to Modi as a person if he fails to become the PM? Don't you think BJP is putting too much emphasis on Modi as if it doesn't have any other leaders. Why other leaders such as Sushma and Jaitley are not having rallies across India. If BJP ends up without the numbers this time, we may end up having an extremely dejected BJP going forward, which may not do any good for Indian democracy.

Anonymous said...

//I may not be a Modi fan, but i'll say this. He is possibly the shrewdest politician in India today//

Comment posted above.

I am not surprised a non fan of Narendra Modi chooses erroneous phrasing to manufacture the same old Narendra Modi phobia.

Allow me to rephrase it giving an analogy too to make my point.

Narendra Modi is not the "shrewdest politician". ( That credit goes to Indira Gandhi).

Thank God , he is very perspicacious. Not intellectually flabby & convictionless like Advanis etc. It is NOT muslims of India who have to fear Sri.Narendra Modi ( who is not a secoolarised indooo like sagarika ghoses & vikram chandras). It is the indian evenagelical MAFIA who are manufacturing all kinds of phobias. They are supported by yechurys , bardhans etc. And DMK DK congress included.

It is too exhaustive to record here how insidious the threat is from Indian evangelicals including their crypto christian mafia. I am extremely scared of the kerala christian & goan christian mafia too. They have already usurped monopolizing health care , education in addition to converting many TEMPLES into churches with their inculturation tactics. Many hindus also in their minds are heavily biased against traditional VEDIC indigenous (read Hindus) systems of health care where it is FOOD that is of prime importance. Not drugs thrust upon us by pharmaceutical mercenaries.

As a HINDU I have been BRUTALLY DENIED this freedom to exercise my choice. Thank God for MUSLIMS who answer with their bombs & swords.

The indian christian mafia are so full of visceral hatred towards us the Hindus & Muslims too would not hesitate to KILL. In Kuwait too they monopolize Hospitals , Clinics , schools etc. In a Kuwait Government run Hospital Mubarak Al-Kabir when my child was admitted ( my child & I were relentlessly POISONED by my faux husband S.N.Ramachandran (965-97201449) a cfo with a forged birth certificate in his passport)I stayed with him. One parent is allowed to stay. I was also suffering from headaches , nausea (owing to Lithiums , Tegretols , Haloperidol , Sodium Valproate cocktail given DAILY along with Eltroxin tablets). I asked for a bedsheet to cover myself. Those bedlinens DO NOT belong to indian NAALAYAKS kerala bible thumpers included.

My tell tale signs of being a Hindu & Brahmin made them treat me very rudely. In a typical kerala unpleasant accent spat out:-

"Asggu (ask) in DHE (the) braaber(proper) VAY (way)".

And left without giving a bedsheet. I had a reason not to complain to the authorities. The same keralite converted christians would NOT have hesitated a bit in injecting my very sick child with POISON & killing him. They all know (every indian here knows) my son & I are unwanted people to be KILLED as this S.N.Ramachandran himself rewards the potential KILLERS in various ways.

Anonymous said...

This monster called evangelizations has gathered a momentum of its own in India.

Like perfectly dangerous idiots we are blaming America instead. NO.
The clear & present danger is from INDIAN christian mafia.The entire world knows keralites promote nepotism. The ubiquitous nurses , teachers have relatives working in corporate offices too as secretaries , accountants etc. Same churchianity makes them ally with Goan & mangalorean converted christians & the same INIMICALS from Tamil Nadu. One S.N.Ramachandran the DEVIL alone has been adequately manipulating them all outsourcing my TORTURE & MURDER to them. At home he takes over.

All big talks of indooism dindooism corruption , poojas & poojas , pravachans plus holy water sprinkling on Sundays by chriatian mafia have NOT impacted these indians (disposable PUTRFYING carcasses)to ask for commensurate punishment for this CRIMINAL S.N.Ramachandran.

The so called authorized personnel like law enforcers , police , embassy . gorement of india do not BOTHER to eliminate such terrorists in the guise of cfo , nurses , secretaries etc.

Hence it makes enormous sense that at least my Maker is sending forth Kasabs , Headleys , Taleban , Mujahideens , Dawood Ibrahims , Tundas , Yasin Bhatkals , floods , tsunamis , dengue , chikungunya to execute the criminals of india.

Narendra Modi should try & grasp this important fact. Instead of falling at the feet of art of living megalomaniac charlatan ssssravishankar.

Anonymous said...

/// The Bihar chaos was a masterstroke///

Do you really think we are dunces to believe Narendra Modi created "Bihar chaos" ? Entire India is chaotic , "functioning anarchy" as one American very charitably observed.

Hindus & Muslims of India CANNOT afford to have vajpayees ,advanis & dmk calling the shots. Who are very pally with congress.

When someone violates traffic rules causing accidents it is expected of the Traffic Cop to apprehend the culprit. In the process would be crossing speed limits jumping the red light if needed.

Only some stupid indian would sit & carp:-

"There is no difference between the criminal & the Cop....both are violating traffic rules...this Traffic Cop is creating shrewdest way....there is no difference between BJP & congress....both look similar to us the young generation who prefer kejriwal like upstarts.."

Anonymous said...

Roads for next PM of India but Namo is known to convert challenge into opportunity.

Anonymous said...

BJP in Tamil Nadu should NOT seek alliance with DMDK.

DMDK is utterly useless. Some have long defected to Jayalalaithaa's party. BJP should allow it to become extinct thus. Should it ally with dmk/congress extinction is for sure.
That would be the smartest move.

BJP should seek either alliance or post poll alliance with Smt.Jayalalithaa.

Anonymous said...

Reposting important comments of V.N.Seetharam from niticentral:-

"JP can only be in a state of desperate suicide mood to be even thinking of aligning with a discredited DMDK. Vijay Kant is a pure thug with a diminishing vote bank. The very sight of him with his drunken blood shot eyes and mulish look is sufficient to evoke revulsion even in a perverse Dravidian psyche. Modi should never encourage such moves of finding repulsive bed partners not befitting his ideology. Vijay Kant is an aberration and a spent force. Contesting alone he won't get a single seat and his vote bank has rightly eroded to less than 1%. People are disgusted with his drunken brawls and rowdy behavior. Tamilians have not descended to that abysmal level of voting for a pirate like monster yet. face is the index of the mind. Please look at Vijay Kant's photos and his public postures more like a rodent than human. Let the BJP have the sense to jettison itself from such vulgarity"

Please stop BJP from allying with dmdk.

Anonymous said...

BJP in Tamil Nadu has WIMPY representatives.

DMDK should be SHUNNED at all costs.
Its leader Vijaykanth kollywood's filmstar is a tad worse than Bommai of Karnataka notorious for slurred gobbledygook under the influence of alcohol. A notorious DRUNKARD this Vijaykanth is.

BJP has come to instantly mean vibrant Gujarat & its Narendra Modi. Who do not DEMAND freebies to cast their votes.

It is debauched DMK that brazenly purchased votes by FREE supply of alcohol , mutton biryani , cash in all elections. Election commission those days did not STOP such moves effectively. DMK ought to have been disqualified. Congress being its ally in the centre ensured it escaped punishment. Thus the electorate in Tamil Nadu have been a pampered lot very much given to drinking alcohol.

NOW , when you hear of accidents at once Jayalalithaa's detractors blame it on TASMAC shops. She is NOT guilty. If not , rest of the political parties are waiting to make money brewing & selling illicit liquor. As they have always done. When people die in huge numbers or go blind the blame would fall on the Chief Minister.To avoid the same old pattern she had to take this decision. Plus how does one raise revenue needed for all FREEBIES that useless people of Tamil Nadu demand??

Smt.Jayalalithaa & Sri.Narendra Modi do not drink alcohol.

But this DMDK Vijaykanth DOES. Goes overboard always.

People would be thoroughly angry with BJP should it reach out to DMDK. Let DMDK join congress & sink together.

Anonymous said...

This DMDK's Vijaykanth & his wife Premalatha are NOTORIOUS for nepotism & very aggressive behaviour.
Her brothers & sundry relatives call the shots.

PLUS , Vijaykanth's son has already been promoted as one more "sOOOooperstar" who would be flying in midair screaming DaEYY & beating up blah blah...

Should DMDK join BJP , vijaykanth will extract his pound of flesh demanding couple of padmashris , padmabhushans , greatest actor award , honourary doctorates etc.

DMDK , PMK , DK , DMK -all these are not good for the well being of India. They cannot survive without perpetuating casteism , parochialism , goondaism. One cannot count the number of TREES cut down ruthlessly by PMK in entire Tamil Nadu. In the name of rioting. And height of hypocrisy being it is PMK that demanded "cigarette smoking scenes be deleted from indian movies".

It is time to ensure all these factions calling themselves political parties are rendered extinct.

Anonymous said...

People of Tamil Nadu (supporters of dmk , dk , congress) unfairly blame Jayalalithaa for the power crisis in the state.

It is DMK that is out & out GUILTY beyond pardon for the dismal state of power supply. The damage wrought by DMK is too extensive to be set right instantly. What is needed is total DENIAL of electricity to DMK , DK , congress & the people who are its habitual supporters as the COMMENSURATE PUNISHMENT. Then there would be surplus power.

We are repeatedly taking the WRONG steps by letting them carry on as "opposition parties". Electoral defeat is no punishment. "Horse whipping" as Tavleen Singh says will not work as they are thick skinned GOONDAS.

The koodankulam trouble maker evenagelical agent Udaykumar has joined kejriwal's AAP. Making them all face bomb blasts / firing squad is the ONLY effective solution.