the fully loaded magazine
This refers to the cover story Success in symphony (June 10). The Modi-Shah ‘Jugalbandi’ (as the cover page caption called it) or orchestra (as the cover story called it) is age-old. Amit Shah started his political career as a leader of the student wing of the RSS, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, in 1983. He joined BJP in 1987, one year before Narendra Modi joined the party. In 2002, Shah was made minister in the Gujarat government led by Modi. After Modi became the Prime Minister, Shah was made president of the BJP. An unparalleled organiser, strategist, and election campaign manager, Shah led the BJP to victory in the 2014 general elections, in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, and in many other state elections.
The BJP’s 2014 victory was the outcome of the people’s ire against the Congress-led UPA government. And they attracted towards Modi, then a stranger to national politics, but a CM with a glossy report in Gujarat. He looked promising and trustworthy to many then. It was a Modi wave in 2014. It turned into Modi tsunami in 2019. The BJP and the NDA won even more seats than they had won in 2014. Obviously, Modi has delivered during his five years in office and the people, satisfied and hopeful, have given him five more years. The master election strategist and craftsman of BJP’s victories, Amit Shah, is now in the Modi cabinet and holds a crucial portfolio as home minister. The Modi-Shah duo is at the helm of affairs in India. The massive mandate they got will allow them to hold a free hand and take hard decisions for the larger good of the people and the country. They must do so!
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Anirban Ganguly’s piece is an exceptional and in-depth study on the reasons behind the overwhelming victory of the BJP in the parliamentary elections in 2019 and the roles played by the two honchos of the BJP, Modi and Shah. The duo from Gujarat has steered the party in the battle of 2019 and 2014 in a very determined, cohesive, articulate manner, throughout the country, especially in UP, West Bengal, Assam and Tripura, where the ruling dispensations appertaining the mentioned states or the regional parties failed to get ahead of the BJP and ultimately lost their vote share and otherwise confirmed seats due to the lackadaisical political activities, bizarre and unclear political goals and weak addresses to the public.
Modi and Shah addressed the nation with patriotic statements, the government’s welfare schemes and implementations of the policies, the weak and dark sides of the Congress, mahagathbandhan, TMC, AAP, and the other parties like Communists. The BJP faced tremendous animosity in Bengal from the Trinamool Congress, still it could get 18 seats. The case was same with the mahagathbandhan in UP. Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee’s scathing attack on Modi and Shah ultimately boomeranged and the Opposition failed to get the public sympathy and attention they hoped for. This thumping win of the BJP proved one thing—that Modi’s and Shah’s clear vision, determination, and connection with grassroots workers of the BJP fruited in a grand victory. Modi’s handling of foreign policy attracted the attention of the commons, and they responded in humongous votes allowing Modi a second term. After this election, the Opposition should introspect into their weaknesses, the political correctness of their image and find out a strong leader who can confront Modi and can be a face which can steer the country in the coming elections. Otherwise, as perceived by Amit Shah, the Opposition will not be able to clinch power to govern the country in the next 50 years.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty, Guwahati
This second landslide victory in the Lok Sabha polls of the BJP, by an even bigger margin than the one in 2014, has come as a boon to the BJP and its top leaders, and a vindication of sorts for Amit Shah and Modi. The Opposition, too, lies in disarray—decimated or marginalised. The BJP gets another chance to improve on its earlier level of governance and development and fulfil the promises it made during 2014, but couldn’t keep due to various reasons. They also have a free hand to tackle issues needing urgent action—poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment, under-employment, price rise, inflation, industrial slowdown, fall in export, trade deficits…. Plus, this is a chance for the NDA to win the hearts and minds of people. Crucially, the BJP has to correct the mistakes made in the last five years—curbing media rights and free speech, killing of rationalists, journalists and lynching by cow vigilantes—that only lower the prestige of this great country. Another duty of the government is to provide bijli, paani and sadak which should be given top priority, next to providing jobs to unemployed youth. Also, it must ensure peace, tranquillity and harmony within the country, security on the borders, solve the agrarian crisis and ensure price control. There is no strong Opposition in Parliament to check the government. Hence, it would do well to self-review and strive to provide good and inclusive self-governance. Mere slogans and aggressive rhetoric on nationalism and patriotism which worked well in pre-independence days won’t work in today’s globalised world.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Thanks to the ever-ready poll machine of Modi and Shah, the BJP’s appetite for electoral victory cannot be satiated. What’s really incredible is that, in the face of disbelievers even in their own party, the duo calmly exuded confidence that their party would cross 300 seats on its own. Uniquely, they don’t rest on their laurels; after one victory, they start preparing for the next elections. The BJP’s performance in Bengal is testimony to the BJP’s relentless pursuit and perseverance. Making inroads into Mamata’s bastion was never an easy task, but the astute Shah’s strategy involved poaching top Trinamool leaders, as well as engaging with people at the booth level. As Union home minister, Shah will have an enviable working relation with PM Modi.
Bal Govind, Noida
It was amazing to read the Ganguly stuff (Success in Symphony by Anirban Ganguly June 10) in the magazine reputed to be objective. How the BJP won is fine but how it lost in some areas, despite the nationwide groundswell of support, is an interesting lesson no political pundit is willing to touch since the BJP increased its vote share— from 31 per cent in 2014 to 36 per cent in 2019. No one’s talking why the BJP drew a blank in some regions, including Kashmir, although Kashmiri migrants were allowed to vote in the Valley and these votes the BJP hoped to gain. And why Sabarimala couldn’t push the BJP’s fortunes in Kerala? Also, the Lok Sabha election results bared the duplicity of political parties and leaders—like it had done in the past. The Left, for instance, had turned extreme Right when it joined hands with the BJP to oust Rajiv Gandhi and bring the V.P. Singh raj. Did the formula reprise in Bengal this time against Mamata Banerjee? Likely. Actually, the sheer lack of Opposition unity gave Modi another term, a resounding one. What next? Will Nagpur call the shots more than before?
K. Shrisagar, Hyderabad
This Jugalbandi may be music to many ears, but is quiet ear-splitting to the ethos of India.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
There was a proofing error in the engineering colleges ranking tables in the Outlook issue dated June 17, 2019. As a result, the headers on ranking tables from page 70 to 76, went as “Rank 2018” and “Rank 2017”. The correct headers are, of course, “Rank 2019” and “Rank 2018” alongside NIRF Rank 2019, in that order. The error is deeply regretted. The ranking values and scores will however remain the same as printed.
Also, in the section on ‘Top 30 Law Colleges’, we have erroneously carried ‘25 Law Colleges’. All corrections have been made on the online versions of the pages.
This refers to the article Congress Law Of Inertia (June 10). Given the complexity of challenges confronting the Congress, it’s not going to be an easy job energising its cadre, considering they have a grassroots cadre at all at this stage. Swamped by BJP’s landslide victory and stung by Smriti Irani’s stunning win in Amethi against Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has been rendered irrelevant like never before. It is a ‘to be or not to be’ moment for Rahul Gandhi. The road ahead is bumpy and turbulent and the destination is nowhere in sight. Nothing short of a Hercules can help the Congress clean its Augean stables and allow the hand to get back its grip.
Sangeeta Kampani, New Delhi
The Congress leadership is grappling with the distinct possibility of Rahul Gandhi refusing to withdraw his resignation offer. The dominant view is that he won’t change his mind no matter how intense the pressure. Certain things are written in stone. One, only a member of the Gandhi family will lead the Congress. Two, the party will not hold its leadership accountable, come what may. Therefore, we should have fully anticipated the charade the CWC enacted after losing. But I wonder why Rahul Gandhi cried foul over Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and P. Chidambaram putting their sons before the party despite the fact that his own mother had done the same? He should have introspected and realised that had his mother prioritised the general wellbeing of the Congress party instead of making him the top gun straight away, the Congress might not have been in such a bad shape. Frankly,the party no longer has a story to tell. It was inevitable that the Indian voter would reject such craven family-retainers.
K.S. Jayateertha, Bangalore
That Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a crackerjack is indubitable (Lawrence Booth’s article Sphinx Guards A Treasure, April 29). His success in limited-overs cricket is the envy of his peers, but his indifference to Test cricket is quite unexplained. The World Cup in England will test his stamina and eagerness to continue playing for India and see his team win. I, like all his fans, wish him a great tournament and, of course, I don’t expect this to be his swansong (MSD—The Last Hurrah, April 29).
J. Biswal, Durgapur