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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Som Dutt has been summoned as accused by a court here for allegedly giving false information in
The Uttarakhand High Court today directed the judicial magistrate of Vikasnagar in Dehradun district to seal and seize the
A Delhi Police team, probing the Election Commission bribery case, will travel to Tamil Nadu with arrested AIADMK (Amma) l
EVM "manipulation" is the "bitter truth" behind the crushing blow to the AAP in the municipal polls, Deputy Chief Minister
What action has been taken against AIADMK faction leader T T V Dhinakaran when all allegations in the Election Commission
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today warned of launching a "movement" if the MCD exit poll results, which have predi
AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran has confessed to meeting Sukesh Chandrsekar, the arrested middleman in the EC bribery
Delhi Police officials tonight served summons to AIADMK deputy chief T T V Dhinakaran in a case of alleged bribery to EC o
The Union Cabinet today cleared a proposal of the Election Commission to procure paper trail machines for use during futur
The Delhi Police today booked AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commissi
Andre Béteille in the Telegraph:
It was not like that in 1951-52, at the time of the first general elections. What has happened between then and now is the steady advance of identity politics over all other kinds of politics in India. Nobody can seriously expect that identity politics will vanish from the Indian scene or even that appeals to the loyalties of caste and community at election time will come to an end. But as long as all issues are subordinated to the articulation of the grievances of particular caste and particular communities, albeit in the name of equity and justice, the electoral process will continue to move in the direction in which it was set off about twenty years ago.
Sanjay K Jha in the Telegraph:
This is not the lexicon of a Mumbai tapori who relishes a shower of abuse on his target before pulling the trigger on him. These are your would-be representatives, people who will become tomorrow’s lawmakers.
The campaign has not even warmed up yet, and already the air is thick with foul, nay filthy, language spewing from high podiums across the country. The hooligan tongue is fast becoming the chief law and order problem of these polls, keeping the Election Commission engaged beyond hours.
Mukul Kesavan, in the Telegraph, suggests that Varun Gandhi's hate speeches could only have been made by an anglophone Indian:
Varun Gandhi’s recent troubles need to be understood in their proper context. That context is that he is what an earlier generation of critics used to call an Indo-Anglian writer, a poet. In 2000, he wrote a book of poems with the subtle and original title, The Otherness of Self, illustrated, among others, by Anjolie Ela Menon and Manjit Bawa. Asked about his debut, Varun Gandhi said that he wrote poetry “[b]ecause it is so precise and illustrates the strength of language”. To contrast this writerly sentiment with the thigh-slapping crudeness of his election speeches would be a cheap shot because there’s no real contradiction here. Feroze Varun Gandhi reserves his finer feelings for English verse; in the course of an election campaign, he speaks the robust vernacular prose in which Indian politics is done.
There is a long history of the educational qualifications of the Gandhis not quite being what they are claimed to be.
So it should not really be a surprise, really, that Shri Varun Gandhi, who in his appeal to the Allahabad High Court to quash the criminal case filed against him for making hate speeches in Pilibhit, had claimed that he had graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE), and then received a Masters degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) actually turns out to have a
"degree from the LSE (BSc in Economics), earned through a distance-learning provision, although he was never admitted to LSE's own undergraduate body. Later he was enrolled at SOAS (MSc in Sociology) but never completed the degree,"
as this petition points out.
The above is reiterated in a widely circulated e-mail from Dr. Annu Jalais Dept. of Anthropology, London School of Economics (LSE):
The SOAS Alumni Relations Officer, has confirmed that Feroze Varun Gandhi never graduated in Sociology from SOAS (as claimed by him/media) as he withdrew from his MSc programme before completing it. Feroze Varun Gandhi's connection to the LSE was only through the "University of London External System", which is a distance-learning provision administered by the LSE. He was never been admitted into the LSE's own undergraduate student body and was never a member of LSE's campus..
Siddharth Varadarajan in the Hindu:
The anti-Muslim construct and the threat of violence is a congenital part of the RSS’ philosophical DNA, a genetic flaw so potent that it contaminates anyone who comes into contact with it. Muslims are the enemy around which the edifice of the BJP’s wider politics is built, even if the requirements of legality mean the party has to be guarded in the manner in which it expresses itself. Sometimes, of course, the mask slips, either by carelessness or design. Varun Gandhi is a novice but even a consummate politician like Atal Bihari Vajpayee could occasionally trip up. In a venomous speech at a BJP meeting in Goa in April 2002, shortly after the anti-Muslim violence which shook Gujarat that year started, Mr. Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister at the time, declared: “Wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others, they don’t like to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats.”
Read the full article here
If the election schedule is here, can the poll-predictions be far behind? Former union minister and Congressman-turned-BJP strategist Arun Nehru has been regularly publishing his back-of-the-envelope calculations in the Pioneer. His predictions for 2004 LS elections were as highly off the mark as any other scientific opinion poll by reputed psephologists. This time around, he says, it won't be a dull election. As of today, he's predicting, Congress 149, BJP 135.
Tamil Nadu is a good example where the DMK, the AIADMK, the PMK and the MDMK can travel in several directions, both at the Centre and in the State. This will happen sooner rather than later as voter preferences become clear. The DMK has been in power for a decade at the Centre, both with the NDA and the UPA, and its extensive assets have led to a damaging family feud. As a result Ms J Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK are gaining ground with each passing day, and the ruling Congress cannot ignore this development.
Change is in the air and my gut feeling is that Ms Jayalalithaa and her allies will sweep the poll. The AIADMK, if it has the numbers, can travel in any direction, and the same holds true for the BSP, the SP, the TDP, the NCP, or for that matter any other regional party. Alliances and agreements will be flexible — with ideology taking a backseat — and will largely depend on numbers.
Incidentally, the importance of Tamil Nadu results to these elections is being underlined by almost all. Mahesh Rangarajan also had a column today in the Mail Today making the same point: "Tamil Nadu and not UP holds the key to power".
Graphic courtesy The Pioneer