POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 23:43 IST ,  Edited At: May 19, 2015 23:43 IST

S V Raju. the executive secertary of the Swatantra Party died on May 19. Raju is known for his tireless efforts against Indian Socialism, especially at a time when Indira Gandhi was using the attractive slogans of socialism to consolidate her personal power. 

In an obituary published in the Mint, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha writes:

The Swatantra Party was the second largest party in Parliament after the 1967 elections. It then collapsed in a sorry heap after Indira Gandhi was swept to power in 1971 with the promise of abolishing poverty with socialism, and acrimonious internal battles hastened its end. One part of the party combined with Charan Singh. Another part eventually ended up in the Janata Party.

Raju did not give up. He kept a whole range of institutions going: the Indian Liberal Group, Freedom First magazine, the Forum of Free Enterprise, the Project for Economic Education; that wonderful journal from the culture wars of the 1950s, Quest, unfortunately folded up. He filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court in 1996 that challenged the law that no group can get registered as a political party unless it swears by socialism. He sometimes wistfully wondered whether the Swatantra Party could be revived.

On the party's 40 the anniversary in 2014, Outlook did a piece called 'A Case for Swatantra':

It is unlikely that the Swatantra Party can be revived. Raju tried but he found he couldn’t because of the requirement that political parties must swear allegiance to the principles enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution, one of which is socialism. He challenged this in the Bombay High Court in 1996, but the writ has not been heard till date

 

In the 2014, the Open magazine too carried a piece on Raju's relentless efforts for revival of the party and his undying spirit:

It is 1996. Post-liberalisation, the Maharashtra unit still exists in some fashion—it has an office, a telephone, and holds occasional meetings. But it hardly has any members. Raju and its general secretary, LR Sampat, decide to revive the Swatantra Party. For this, they need to register it again and reclaim the party symbol, the star. They approach the Election Commission for registration papers. But these demand that the party swears that it is ‘Socialist’, in accordance with a 1989 amendment of India’s Representation of People’s Act. They refuse. They cannot vow to uphold an ideology they have been fighting all their lives. They file a writ petition in the High Court challenging this provision.

It is 2014. The party has not been reactivated. The High Court is yet to have even a single hearing on their petition. Sampat has passed away. Raju is 80 now. In a small office in Fort, Mumbai, he sits and says he is still hoping to revive the party. “I am the only member now. I have kept it going because the idea is important. And now I am preparing a case of why we need to continue.”

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 23:43 IST, Edited At: May 19, 2015 23:43 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 21, 2015 AT 21:51 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 21, 2015 21:51 IST

It is no secret that India's general elections are one of the most expensive in the world. Last year, India's General Elections that catapulted Narendra Modi from Gujarat to the national capital was considered the second-most expensive election ever after Barack Obama's campaign. The contrast between the two is evident: the US is one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world. In the eyes of many, India remains a developing nation.

Nevertheless, ho-hum was the typical reaction when the nation got to know about the high cost (Rs 60 crore) of Modi's 3D campaigns. 

The Times of India reported:

"The 3D holographic campaign, a novelty in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and a critical component of Narendra Modi's hi-tech campaign enabling him to address more than 700 virtual rallies, cost BJP over Rs 60 crore. The licence fee alone for two months during the campaign accounted for Rs 10 crore."

While many estimates were flowing in about how much India had spent in the 2014 elections, Outlook had done its own calculations and arrived at the conclusion that a mind boggling Rs 31,950 crore was spent in general elections 2014. That's a little over $ 5.2 billion, which is ten times the Rs 3,426 crore the Indian government spent on conducting the elections. 

The Outlook report said:

"Sensing a strong anti-incumbency 'wave', parties dug deep in their pockets and spent big money to ensure a victory. They paid for every trick in the book to lure voters — from huge publicity campaigns to attempting to buy their commitment via the age-old practice of gifts, liquor and food. Politicians also say that cash-for-votes is rife, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra."

Of the Indian total, the BJP alone is estimated to have spent two thirds — or over Rs 21,000 crore — in the elections that brought them to the throne.

Click on image to expand

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 21, 2015 AT 21:51 IST, Edited At: Jan 21, 2015 21:51 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 02, 2014 AT 02:07 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 02, 2014 02:07 IST

Wednesday, July 30 was clearly a day for collective laughter and smiles on Twitter in Turkey as hundreds of women posted pictures—mostly selfies taken with their phones—of themselves laughing.

It wasn't just grinning for the sake of a ritual. This was a laughing in the face of the deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, who in a speech a couple of days before on Eid  had said that women should not laugh in public.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 02, 2014 AT 02:07 IST, Edited At: Aug 02, 2014 02:07 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 24, 2014 AT 18:10 IST ,  Edited At: Jul 24, 2014 18:10 IST

First came a shocking statement from a BJP leader in Telangana, K Laxman, who flayed the TRS government's decision to appoint tennis star Sania Mirza as brand ambassador of the newly created state, terming her as a "daughter-in-law" of Pakistan and questioning her credentials for the honour.

Sania was born in Maharashtra and settled in Hyderabad later and, hence, is a "non-local", he told reporters and sought to dub her a "daughter-in-law" of Pakistan, pointing that she was married to cricketer Shoaib Malik.

The tennis star responded on Twitter (we have also added a few of her tweets from earlier):

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 24, 2014 AT 18:10 IST, Edited At: Jul 24, 2014 18:10 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 11, 2014 AT 23:49 IST ,  Edited At: Jul 11, 2014 23:49 IST

A couple of days back, when BJP announced the appointment of Amit Shah as its new party president, historian Ramachandra Guha had tweeted:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 11, 2014 AT 23:49 IST, Edited At: Jul 11, 2014 23:49 IST
     
 
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