Reflex Action

Amulya Ganguli
The Narendra Modi government appears to have succeeded in persuading the ghar wapsi and love jehad brigades to pipe down for the time being. Modi even personally ticked off the gau-rakshaks or cow vigilantes after they were video-taped lynching a group of Dalit youths for skinning a cow, their traditional occupation. The caste of the victims of saffron violence obviously played a role in making Modi say that the professed love for the cow displayed by a majority of gau-rakshaks was “fake”. Clearly, the prime minister did not want to...

G. Srinivasan
After the recent report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reproving the Modi Government for its November 8 decision of demonetizing high denomination notes which it contended has dampened consumption and activities across the real sectors of the Indian economy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) did not pass any overt strictures on demonetization (Demo). With the government repeating parrot-like that the accompanying pain people suffered was stoically borne by them in the national interest of sucking out...

P. Sreekumaran
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit in Kerala is feeling the heat literally and politically. The reasons for the blue mood in the party are not far to seek. First and foremost, the party’s efforts to expand and consolidate the third front led by it have suffered a severe setback with its sole ally, the Bharat Dharma jana Sena (BDJS) airing its anger over the BJP’s failure to keep the promises it had made to the BDJS. Secondly, the party finds itself in a tight spot thanks to the hate speech made by its general secretary K. Surendran the...

L.S. Herdenia
Strange things are happening in Madhya Pradesh. Vyapam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi has sought protection from Chambal ex-dacoits and several top BJP leaders, including veteran former chief minister Babulal Gaur, has accused state government of serious irregularities in Kshipra river clean-up project and demanded probe. Frustrated by what he calls Madhya Pradesh police's "tantrums" over giving him suitable security cover, Vyapam scam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi now wants surrendered dacoits and rebels of the Chambal bad lands for his...

Kalyani Shankar
Maratha strong man Sharad Pawar seems to be losing his touch going by the recent adverse civic poll results in Maharashtra. His Nationalist Congress Party was the worst- hit among the players. Pawar, who had seen many highs and lows has been synonymous with power politics, both in Maharashtra and the national politics. After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, Pawar has never lost an election and had completed his fifty years in politics recently. However, the recent elections to the 25 zilla parishads and 10 municipal...

Nantoo Banerjee
Corporate hospitals and private clinics have become a national shame in a country where nearly 40 per cent of the population are poor and over 90 per cent live without medical cover. Private hospitals are fleecing patients, in connivance with doctors, drug manufacturers, medical devices suppliers and, often, with the central and state administration. They make money, but offer no guarantee for cure. The private healthcare system has become so corrupt and ruthless that it has reached a diseased proportion by itself. Lack of government spending...

B.K. Chum
“All is fair in love and war”, and in politics, particularly electoral. This is happening in UP assembly polls. In their no-holds-barred campaigns, some political parties and their affiliates claiming to be the biggest champions of India’s unity and integrity are ironically trying to polarize India’s diversity by injecting communal virus in the country’s bodypolitic. Hypocrisy, opportunism and sycophancy have become their modus operandi to achieve their dubious political objectives. To begin with, take the attempts being made by Bhagwat’s ‘...

Arun Srivastava
Mumbaikars did not settle the contentious issue of who would rule them. It was the issue of lording over the Mumbaikars that had forced the divorce and separated the couple. No doubt the BJP and its supporters are quite elated at the significant gain of the party, the fact must not be denied that this cannot be attributed to ideological victory. The saffron party preferred to follow in the footsteps of the Congress and rely on its recipe. The media and BJP leaders are not tired of furnishing statistics to claim that the party has made a...

Amulya Ganguli
Concerned as the BJP is over the stiff challenges which it is facing in the assembly elections, its worries will be multiplied by the party’s setback in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) poll. What the outcome has shown is that the Shiv Sena had read the political tea leaves right by breaking its ties with the BJP and going it alone. Prima facie, it would have appeared to have been a foolhardy decision considering that the assembly elections in Maharashtra had shown that the Shiv Sena had conceded its primacy of place to the BJP,...

L.S. Herdenia
It was the biggest show of strength by the Congress after it lost power in 2003. More than fifty thousand party workers were arrested on February 22 when they tried to march towards the Vidhan Sabha which they declared they wanted to "gherao". But the Congress spokesman K.K. Mishra claimed that more than a lakh party workers were expected to join the demonstration but about fifty thousand could not reach Bhopal because they were stopped by the police at the five entry points on some or other excuse. Party workers started reaching Bhopal from...

Barun Das Gupta
Manipur goes to polls next month. Elections to the 60 seats of the State Assembly will be held in two phases – March 4 and 8. This Assembly election is going to be totally different from all other elections in the past. It is the Naga issue that is dominating the election scene. The Nagas mounted an economic blockade of the State on the 1st of November last year, to protest against the creation of seven new districts by the Congress-run Manipur Government. They think the creation of the new districts is intended to divide the Nagas living in...

G. Srinivasan
Post-demonetisation, the verdict on India’s economic performance from reputed global institutions has seldom been unambiguous. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was the first to lower India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the current fiscal to 6.6 per cent in its updated world economic outlook report a couple of months  ago. This was at a time when the domestic authorities and other cheer-leading public and private institutions were cocksure of India’s growth clocking 7 per cent in 2016-17. Now the ill-tidings is out...

P. Sreekumaran
The abduction and alleged rape of a prominent Malayalam film actress by a criminal gang in Kochi and the police failure to nab the prime accused has pushed the LDF Government, already on the mat in a case relating to the death of a BTech student, further on the defensive. The gang had abducted the actress with the intent of extorting money from her through blackmailing. Three persons have been arrested so far, but the police failure to arrest the main accused has drawn all-round flak. What is adding to the embarrassment of the police...

S. Sethuraman
Time for the Modi Government to rise above mythical assumptions and go on hard slog to restore growth and stability to the 2-trillion dollar economy. Judging from a brutal, if benignly worded, assessment from IMF on the state of post-demonetisation economy, India needs to get its act together on a wide front- fiscal, structural, inflationary and external – as risks abound. The IMF Report, after the most recent Article IV consultations, does not under-rate India’s current difficulties, partly self-inflicted, or under-state its efforts directed...

Nilanjan Banik
This is an election month, with voters from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Goa selecting their representatives in the legislative assembly. Since stakes are high, politicians are trying to woo their voters by promising to give free Wi-Fi, smartphones, pressure cookers and petrol. Politicians can afford these freebies as they are rich. The common perception is black money are disproportionately cornered by the rich and corrupt politicians. Recent estimate suggests increase in income inequality - gap between top 10 percentile and the...

Amulya Ganguli
When Narendra Modi persuaded LK Advani and others in the BJP’s old guard to retire from active politics, he must have felt happy over establishing complete control over the party. But he may not have realized how heavy a burden he will have to carry. Now the assembly elections cannot but have made him aware of this onerous responsibility. As has been obvious over the last few weeks, Modi has been conducting the campaign virtually alone. BJP president Amit Shah has also been addressing a fair number of rallies. But no one inside or outside the...

S. Sethuraman
Tamil Nadu is now in political turmoils, a fragile AIADMK Government of E. PalaniswamI scrambling a wafer-thin majority in a confidence vote on Feb.18, after an ugly display of violence against the Speaker, damage of Assembly equipment, and uproar by DMK members, all designed to suit the game plan of Leader of Opposition Mr. M.K. Stalin to stall proceedings. Mr Palaniswami faces hostility from the 11-member rebel group led by former Chief Minister Mr. O.S. Panneerselvam while Mr Stalin leading the 89-member DMK sees opportunities, with a...

Subrata Majumder
Notwithstanding US President Donald Trump’ climb-down on One China policy, tension brews over the Sino- USA trade and investment. It is unlikely that Trump’s assurance to follow 40 years USA’s One China policy will soothe the relation and retrieve the normal trade relation. Though the White House statement viewed Trump’s direct telephonic call to President Xi Jinping very cordial and ensuring for a substantial dialogue between Washington and Beijing to re-rail the ties, normalization of trade tension is a far cry. China is the trigger for USA’...

Nantoo Banerjee
It is good that India has finally waken up to the perils of its growing large trade deficits with diplomatically belligerent China and sent a strong message that the current trade imbalance can’t continue for long. On the diplomatic front, China continues to put India under pressure — refusing to support India’s nuclear suppliers group (NSG) membership and its campaign against Pakistan-based terrorists and their outfits that launched dreadful attacks in Mumbai, Pathankot, etc. China also contests India’s territorial rights over Arunachal...

Arun Srivastava
With 2019 coming closer, socialist leader and Bihar chief minister has awoken to the bitter reality that his recent political flip-flops would not help him and he has to befriend a formidable force to navigate the electoral Baitarani River. Only three months back he had extended full support, moral and physical, to Narendra Modi’s move to demonetise the high value currency notes. His support to Modi came at a time when later was facing bitter criticism from politicians and economists for his policy decision. Everyone was shocked to listen to...

Harihar Swarup
It may look a little early but one has the premonition that in Punjab, Amrinder Singh is becoming the Chief Minister and in Uttar Pradesh Rahul Gandhi—Akhlesh Yadav combination is heading for a victory. In that event Akhilesh will be the chief minister for the second term. The split in the Samajwadi Party and virtual breakup of the SP has helped Akhilesh and boosted his image sky high. Heavy polling in the areas where elections have already been held indicate a definite trend. The trend is that there will be no hung house. The era of...

L S Herdenia
It might have been highly embarrassing moment for RSS Chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat that during his presence in Madhya Pradesh MP cops busted a ISI spy ring operating in the state which is ruled by RSS blue eyed boy Shivraj Singh Chouhan. It was much more embarrassing because this spy ring was being run by some such persons who had connections with RSS outfits. This spy ring was busted on the very day (February 10) when Dr. Bhagwat lashed out at ISIS at a programme at a Madhya Pradesh town. Dr. Bhagwat said that ISIS is a threat to humanity. They...

Nitya Chakraborty
The Supreme Court  judgment given on January 11 in the Sahara-Birla papers case dismissing application submitted by the activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan pleading for investigation into large scale payments made to the political leaders including the Prime Minister, has created  fresh furore in the legal circles. Leading Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has observed in an article in a leading website that the judgment smacks of bias and it deserves to be recalled by the Supreme Court...

Pradeep Kapoor
During last two phase polling, Samajwadi Party and Congress appears to be emerging as frontrunner in a multi-corner contest for crucial assembly polls for Uttar Pradesh assembly. Heavy polling in second phase also indicates that voters are determined for a government formation ruling out the possibility of a hung assembly. Significantly enough, districts with Muslim populations saw maximum turn out and heavy voting from both the communities. Since Samajwadi Party had done extremely well in in 2012  asembly elections in this region, so...

Debkumar Bhadra
It was Sunday and I thought it would be a nice idea to spend the holiday exploring the natural environment at Mount Harriet. The thought was driven by the fact that, I could not say no to an offer to trek to Kala Pathar with Ollie, the man who loves rocks. We decided to start early in the morning so that we could devote ample time exploring the nature and also spend some time searching for the inscription that finds mention in the letter written by Rev Thomas L. J. Warneford of the colonial Administration, accessed by Prof Clare Anderson from...