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Posts Tagged ‘Indian elections’

Black Box Mamta

May 14, 2011 1 comment
Will Mamata didi also behave like this? (Cartoon by - by Abhishek Tiwari; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click for larger image.

Will Mamata didi also behave like this? (Cartoon by - by Abhishek Tiwari; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click for larger image.

Lone woman standing

Mamata Banerjee, an ex-Congressi, split from the Congress  over strategy on how to defeat the CPI-M. Friendless for sometime, without any patron or godfather, she ploughed a lonely furrow.

Till an alliance with the BJP gave her impetus – and political standing. A split with the BJP and an alliance with the Congress put the wind in her sails.

India's oligarchs are a significant threat in the Mamta program. (Image courtesy - economictimes.com). Click for larger image.

India's oligarchs are a significant threat in the Mamata program. (Image courtesy - economictimes.com). Click for larger image.

Blackbox

Her policies and programmes are a black box – and may not make a big difference. Mamta Banerjee has broken the Communist hold over West Bengal – which is an unalloyed plus for West Bengal.

Red Flag

India’s emerging oligarchs who are in control of crucial parts of the economy – and the political support they get, are possibly the biggest problem. With Amit Mitra, earlier of the FICCI (a business union for lobbying) as her ‘finance’ brains and consultant, a backdoor entry by the oligarchs is a distinct danger in Mamata’s  poribortan.

Endgame for Manmohan Singh?

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

Tom-tom drums

In the deep jungles of Indian politics, tom-tom drums are beating. Some people who know how to read these drum-beats are saying that the message reads “Rahul baba is coming … Rahul baba is coming …”

Will Indira Gandhi inspire Rahul Gandhi

It is some 15 months of UPA-II. Will it be like the 1971 election of Indira Gandhi. Leading a lame-duck, Government for two years, after a flurry of populist tokens, like abolition of privy purses, bank nationalisation, Indira Gandhi called for ‘garibi hatao’ and an election.

Will we see an ouster of Manmohan, installation of Rahul Gandhi as PM, another flurry of populist tokens – and an election in 12-18 months.

Going by personal experience, the few 2ndlook posts in the last 3 months, on Rahul Gandhi have had unusual traffic. Reader interest has been higher than what the content would justify.

Listening posts

A report in The Times Of India reads

our economist PM’s lack of leadership gets manifested best in his absolute abdication of responsibility on issues concerning the country’s economy … foodgrains continue to rot for want of storage space … even as Naxals continue to kill our forces at will … the home minister’s response suggests it to be a ‘law and order’ problem, Digvijay Singh thinks otherwise … as the killing spree continues, the government’s absentee railway minister addresses a massive rally at Lalgarh with Maoist support and even supports an investigation into the death of a Naxal commander.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Pranab Mukherjee disapproves of Mamata Banerjee’s antics. But soon the Congress’s own heir apparent takes a dangerous left turn. Addressing a massive tribal rally alongside a suspected Naxal leader, Rahul Gandhi talks of being a soldier of the tribals in Delhi … What is most unbecoming of the ‘honest’ Singh is his constantly looking the other way on issues involving gross corruption. No wonder then that telecom minister A Raja and CWG chairman Suresh Kalmadi have seemed to carry on their reported exploits with impunity.

India deserves a more ‘in-control’ PM … what makes the PM-in-waiting, Rahul, choose to remain ‘shielded’ perpetually? Has he done a reality check and concluded that he is not prepared for the job? Is he worried that he might face the same flak when his opportunity comes? What is equally surprising is that our ‘PM-designate’ is just as invisible on almost all important issues. (via No Nightwatchman’s Innings – The Times of India; parts excised for brevity.).

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

National Advisory Council (NAC) takes over

A web-zine, MeriNews in a recent analysis points out

The SIX-year old trusted political equation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is said to be under pressure. Since the revival of National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi …

All these six years, perfect understanding was maintained among these two power centers. While Sonia Gandhi looking after political issues of Congress-led UPA Government; Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was given free hand with regard to the affairs of the government. But the growing interest shown by Sonia Gandhi in the governance seems to be widening the gap between the two political titans.

At this juncture, the revival of NAC is seen as Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to take control over the administration on her own to pave way for the coronation of her son Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. …

Manmohan Singh  is taking all due care avoiding the media focus on himself. He has hardly given any full-length interview for any news paper or news channel. He is also not happy with the attitude of some ministers, who did not cooperate with him … only Home Minister P. Chidambaram interacts with the Prime Minister on a regular basis on all major policy issues. While all other ministers are trying to show that they are more loyal to `madam’ than the prime minister.

Manmohan Singh was upset when AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had written an article questioning Chidambaram’s anti-Maoists policy at a time when the government was facing crisis following 76 CRPF jawans massacre in Chhattiasgarh. Whether Rahul Gandhi will be allowed to lead the nation or some intermediate arrangement will be preferred, is yet to be seen. (via Has Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh equation as a team ended?).

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

Insider knows

A BJP MP, Chandan Mitra, writing for The Pioneer, paints a similar picture. Some edited (for brevity) sections are reproduced below.

What happened in the Rajya Sabha on August 31, last day of the Monsoon Session … was probably the most incredible example of a Government under siege … from within. The … next day, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sought to drape Congress MP Keshava Rao’s rebellion against … Kapil Sibal with the cloak of “inner-party democracy” reveals the … bewilderment. Later the same evening, … P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh were back in the ring …this time over the term ‘saffron terror’. Was it mere coincidence that two efficient … Ministers — Mr Chidambaram and Mr Sibal — bore the brunt of Congress MPs’ wrath? Some … believe that … Mr Keshava Rao’s … access to 10 Janpath, the rebellion must have been staged … (knowing) that no consequences would follow.

leaders have begun jockeying for the post-Manmohan era. With Rahul Gandhi’s mounting visibility, carefully calibrated by sections of the media, Congress know it is a matter of time before the heir-apparent takes direct charge.

the Prime Minister sat through all five hours of the Nuclear Liability Bill debate in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs later complained they couldn’t even take coffee breaks because it would have been improper to gad off while he sat on impassively. From this unusual action it has been deduced by many that Mr Manmohan Singh is in the final stage of repaying his debt to Washington on the nuclear issue.

So now that the nuclear deal process is complete, Mr Manmohan Singh may prefer to walk into the sunset once US President Barack Obama’s visit happens in early November.

Proponents believe that 2011 or latest 2012 will be the year of transition … a political crisis may be deliberately stirred so that a fresh election has to be called to legitimise Mr Rahul Gandhi’s ascendancy since his mother believes electoral endorsement is what’s kept the dynasty going. Congress strategists have calculated that if an election is held within the next 12 to 18 months, with Mr Rahul Gandhi projected as Prime Minister, the party will win a majority on its own. …

some seniors in the party are already positioning themselves for such an eventuality — Mr Digvijay Singh for one [.] has been consistently making jholawallah-type noises … significantly, he has targeted Mr Chidambaram who is clearly doing his best to uphold the dignity and power of the Indian state. … Rahul is building a jholawallah team around himself, some inherited from his mother’s National Advisory Council, which now acts as a super-Cabinet, and the rest drawn from from across the globe, potential British Labour Party leader David Miliband included. I would rather have Mr Rahul Gandhi take over right now than permit his ambitious cohorts to inject chaos and disorder in governance so that they can herald the Crown Prince’s arrival into South Block as the knight in shining armour destined to ‘rescue’ India from drift. Who knows, maybe Ms Sonia Gandhi will time her ‘voluntary retirement’ to coincide with that so daughter Priyanka begins a long stint as Congress president! [Significant caveats and qualifications by the author excised for brevity. Read original, linked at the beginning and here to verify the credibility and degree of certainty of the analysis].

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Which way the wind blows

The wide- coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s support  to Omar Abdullah by the media was indicative of the way political winds are blowing. Did Omar Abdullah with nearly 12-15 years of experience in governance need Rahul Gandhi’s certification? The shrill attacks on the Government using Commonwealth Games is another indicator. Will the Ayodhya judgement by the Allahabad High Court be used as a trigger for displacing Manmohan Singh?

Time will surely tell. In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi would do well to remember that the Congress has really won just three election out of ten in the last 40 years. No doubt, the Indian Voter exudes warmth towards Rahul Gandhi.

To assume that this warmth will translate into votes is immature.

Scenarios and Outcomes – Indian Elections 2009

May 14, 2009 5 comments
Only if it was that easy!

Only if it was that easy!

Opinion Polls and India

The 2004 elections in India was a watershed – for opinion poll industry. After 20 years of work, the opinion poll industry thought that they had the models, the tricks, questionnaires and had the Indian Voter all figured out. 2004 changed that.

What looked like a certain victory for the BJP, turned out to be victory for the ‘no hope’ Congress Party – a surprise front runner. It was not just one opinion poll – but nearly half a dozen opinion polls that got it wrong. No wonder, this time around they, the opinion pollsters, were subdued when the Election Commission decided to finally implement the ‘no-opinion-polls-during-elections’ diktat.

Congress has its troubles!

Congress has its troubles!

That said, a post in India’s Times of India writes about how the diplomatic “grapevine will tell you, the entire diplomatic corps in New Delhi called the 2004 election results wrong — except the Russians.” I would like to know what methodology the Russians knew – and the rest of the world does not know about. Or was it just a fluke?

Unlike most Westernized ‘readers’ and ‘experts’, 2ndlook believes that the Indian Voter has been a smart voter – who has taken risks with ‘unknown’ parties and given opportunities to ‘risky’ elements. This has ensured that the Indian Voter has a large electoral choice – compared to the typical two-horse towns that passes of as elections in other countries.

This elections seems to centre around four scenarios.

Scenario 1

Congress wins between 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100 seats. At the higher end of the spectrum, the combine will easily form the Government. At the lower end, the UPA combine will fall short of about 30 seats. This may not pose a significant problem. This is of course subject to who the winners of the 70-100 seats in the Congress are. That  will be the crucial factor.

Cricket and politics - whatta mix!

Cricket and politics - whatta mix!

  1. If Mamta Banerjee wins 15-20 seats, getting additional 30 seats from the Left Parties will be difficult.
  2. That may leave the Congress to look at the ADMK – if the DMK does not do well.
  3. If the DMK also does well, then Andhra Pradesh will hold the key. Will TRS /TDP combine break up and TRS will join the Congress? Will Chiranjeevi upset the apple cart? Or is that the Congress will make these Andhra parties irrelevant.
  4. NCP, Mulayam, Lalu and Paswan will possibly go quietly with the Congress in this scenario.
  5. If Mamta does badly and so does DMK, then Congress will have easy time – as the Left and the Third Front may simply fall in line and negotiate a good deal for themselves.

Scenario 2

BJP wins 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100  seats.

  1. The biggest worry for BJP will be the President. Who will the President give the first opportunity to – in case of a close result?
  2. BJP will have a tougher time – as the Congress will try for the same allies.
  3. BJP has an advantage with an inside track with TRS, BJD, ADMK. Unlike the Congress.
  4. Will Shiv Sena rope in Sharad Pawar to join an NDA Government? Possible!
  5. How much of a chance does BJP have with Mayawati? Considerable!
  6. In this specific scenario, the big thing for the BJP will be the number of seats that the allies win.

Emosianal atyachaar!

Emosianal atyachaar!

Scenario 3

Congress and BJP get less than 150 seats each. One gets 130 – and the other gets 150! The Third and the Fourth Front get around 250 seats by themselves.

  1. BJP has said that it may partner with Congress to form a ‘stable Government! A BJP leader has gone on record saying the same!
  2. NCP leader PA Sangma has independently suggested that since there is “not much difference between the economic and foreign policies of these two parties and that their coming together could make India a “different country”.”
  3. The other thing will be a Third Front Government – which is seeming improbable as the two main forces for a Third Front, the Left and Telugu Desam’s Chandra Babu Naidu both seem to be doing badly. “Better a junior partner in a stable alliance like the UPA or NDA than a unstable Third Front” kind of thinking may win the day – and kill the Third Front.
  4. The Third Front may gravitate around Mayawati – whosesarvjan’ ideology is very Indic – and unique. Unlike others, who are talking about reservations, only Mayawati talks about everyone’s welfare. Her bit abouttilak, taraazu aur talwar … teeno ko maar jootey chaar’ is again something that is a very Indic and  a welcome development.

    This stereotype hides an interesting fact

    This stereotype hides an interesting fact

Scenario 4

The most uncertain outcome.

Congress and BJP get between 140-165 seats each – leaving just about 220-260 seats for all others. None of the three Blocs are close to a majority. The Third and the Fourth Front get seats in the 2:1 ratio. BJP /Congress  are not in a position to form the Government and neither do others!

Two possibilities – a rump party will form a Government depending on support from Congress or the BJP – a la Chandrasekhar, Charan Singh, Deve Gowda, IK Gujral et al. Or the BJP or Congress will cobble up a weak alliance – a Government that will bleed to death by a thousand cuts.

Getmo’ …

  1. Nitish seeks special status for Bihar
  2. Naveen Patnaik to back Cong govt at Centre
  3. Mayawati stands by Third Front
  4. Left ready to back Nitish as PM
  5. Cong indicates willingness for Nitish’s package formula

    Post poll alliances

    Post poll 'alliances'

  6. Did Maya ride to secret LK meet in M-800?
  7. DMK or AIADMK? Cong plays it safe, waits for 16th
  8. BJP eyes Naveen Patnaik & Chandrababu Naidu
  9. Will Ms. Mayawati be PM, wonders India’s Dalit capital
  10. Less seats for Left won’t make it drive hard bargain: Cong
  11. Meeting with Rajnath was not political, says Amar Singh
  12. Mad Woman Theory of Politics in India
  13. No 2007 repeat, but Maya tally to rise
  14. AGP wants Advani as next Prime Minister
  15. Congress to emerge as single largest party: Rajasthan bookies
  16. Congress may dump DMK, may not need Maya
  17. The Kingmakers
  18. Third Front a fractured front: Praja Rajyam
  19. Marandi’s party to maintain equidistance from NDA, UPA

PS – This post continued getting interested readers well after the result came out! Was it possibly because that as one reviewer put it,

Nostradamus

To begin with albeit a little late, is poll scenario analysis by Quick Tale. I call the post Nostradamus like because from the 4scenarios laid out in the post, the very first assumption became the election result. Comprehensive thoughts at: Scenarios and Outcomes – Indian Elections 2009

Scenario 2

Voting your caste

March 16, 2009 5 comments

When Yumm-Rika votes as Latinos, WASPS, Blacks, Asians, Gender, Age it is demographics. In India it becomes caste-system..

As Bal Thackeray once said, Indians don’t just cast their vote.

As Indians prepare not to cast their vote but “vote their caste”, as Bal Thackeray once said, our sadhus and sanyasis, mahants and maulvis, pundits and preachers must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Folk faith was common in the West too until the Age of Enlightenment and then the new economic order introduced by the Industrial Revolution led to mass education and material advance. That precursor of mental development encouraged the masses to aspire to elitist heights of thought and culture. In contrast, our elite is sinking to the level of the masses. India may lead the world in Information Technology and be able to send a man to the Moon, but the influence that the successors of Dhirendra Brahmachari and Chandra Swamy are increasingly gaining suggests that the intellectual revolution that is the essential key to modernity has passed us by. (via Sunanda K Datta-Ray: Voting your caste).

Caste by another name ...

Caste by another name …

Advanced West vs ignorant Indians

Now the US votes on the basis of gender (more women voters do vote for democrats), color (more Hispanics and African Americans generally vote Democrats), age (younger voters are traditionally democrats in larger numbers), religion (only one Catholic has become a US President), race (only WASP – White Anglo Saxon Protestants allowed real power).

Now Sunanda Datta K. Ray is a bad case of vacillation – sometimes pathos and sometimes bathos. Some of his columns (Have you eaten?) is memorable for its breadth – and then you see this kind of ignorance.

In US societal divisions are called demographics and is a matter of high academic interest.(click on this link to see an interesting device to gauge demographic effects in US elections). In India, the West uses a pejorative called the caste system. The US system has ensured that the US voter gets more (Republican) or less (Democrats) of the same swill. What choice does the US voter have? The Indian voter has created a choice for himself by voting for a wide range of issues, agendas and parties.

But then the Indian voter is unlettered, ‘uneducated’ and does not speak English – and Sunanda K. Datta Ray is possibly vernacularly challenged!!


Change in Voting-Age Population (VAP), 2000-2007: Selected Battleground States in 2008

State Total VAP increase Hispanic VAP increase
Share of Total VAP Increase
Selected racial/ethnic groups Metropolitan areas
Traditionally Republican States
Colorado 15% 32% Hispanics: 32% 47% in Denver
North Carolina 12% 53% African Americans: 23%
Hispanics: 18%
29% in Raleigh-Durham
25% in Charlotte
Virginia 10% 51% Hispanics: 21%
African Americans: 21%
Asian Americans: 15%
47% in Northern Virginia
(including exurbs)
Traditionally Democratic States
Pennsylvania 3% 44% Hispanics: 38%
African Americans: 24%
Asian Americans: 20%
40% in Philadelphia suburbs
Swing States
Florida 15% 40% Hispanics: 42%
African Americans: 19%
19% in Miami-Fort Lauderdale
16% in Orlando
14% in Tampa-St. Petersburg
Missouri 7% 48% African Americans: 15%
Hispanics: 13%
35% in St. Louis
20% in Kansas City
15% in Springfield
Ohio 3% 34% African Americans: 26%
Hispanics: 18%
Asian Americans: 14%
43% in Columbus
34% in Cincinnati
Note: Data for African Americans and Asian Americans are for non-Hispanic members
of these groups who did not identify with another racial groupSources: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from U.S. Census Bureau,
"Annual State Population Estimates with Sex, 6 Race Groups (5 Race Alone Groups
and One Group with Two or more Race Groups) and Hispanic Origin: April 1, 2000
to July 1, 2007," accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/datasets.html on
May 31, 2008; and "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Selected Age Groups
and Sex for Counties: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007,"
accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/counties/asrh/CC-EST2007-agesex.html,
on Aug. 31, 2008.

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