Showing posts from February 9, 2020

In the name of booth level campaign

By Vijaya Pushkarna “There a guy will come and tell them, you know how the Hindus are increasing in numbers..and you know how the Muslim population is growing? At this rate, Muslims will become more than Hindus, and you know what will happen to the country? Five years later, Muslims will outnumber Hindus, this country will belong to the Muslims. Your daughters will be raped in their own homes. You know where this country will reach? You are selling your country for 200 units of electricity? You are selling your dharam? Are you a Hindu or what? The atmosphere gets charged, and they will all be hypnotized. The moment that happens, they will give them pouches of Ganga water, and say, khao kasam (swear ,take oath, promise) we are Hindus, “khao kasam hum Hindu hain. Aur khao kasam jo Hindu hai woh BJP ko vote dega”. And everyone will take that oath. And then they are in a moral and religious dilemma, feel we have taken this oath, so we have to give our vote to the BJP” That w

Why BJP is fine with hate speech: it helps spread their ideology!

By Vijaya Pushkarna From the Web Public memory is short, it is said. That may not be true all the time, but some people’s memory is certainly selectively very short. Almost 48 hours after the Delhi assembly election results were declared, Union Home Minister Amit Shah admitted that the “goli maaro, India-Pak” remarks “may have” been part of the reason the party was almost washed out in the National Capital Territory. The way Shah qualified this “may have”suggests it was a half hearted response to a pointed question at an event attended by many who will never be seen in Shah’s rallies.  “Nobody gave a statement that mothers and sisters would be raped. The other statements that you raised, they should not have been made. The party immediately distanced itself from them…party workers of every level are part of the election campaign. Some worker says something, but the public knows what the party is. The party’s official spokesperson, the party’s Parliamentary board, the p

Food --his aunt's-- fashioned Wendell Rodricks

By Vijaya Pushkarna Wendell Rodricks is someone I have not met . Nor does one know much about him as a fashion designer.  Yet, the news of his passing on Wednesday left me sad.The only connect was a short essay by him. A few years ago, I had reviewed a book “Chillies and Porridge: Writing Food”, a compilation of essays on food, edited by Mita Kapur.   One of them  was a simple and touching 6 page piece that Rodricks had written on his Tia Rosa – aunt Rose . It was an essay that one could not forget—not the writer, nor his aunt. It was powerful in its simplicity, and moving as it came from the designer’s heart. Rodricks describes the advantages of living across the road where Tia Rosa lived, as he pays tributes to the lady from whom he has learnt everything that would years later define him. The essay is set in his mind as his favourite aunt lay in her coffin. “The biggest was that Tia Rosa taught me to love the colours, the aromas, the textures that resided in her

What people elsewhere want: the Kejriwal model

By Vijaya Pushkarna There is a decided lightness in the air around the national capital on the day after the assembly election results were out. People who were scared to give away their party preference even to those conducting exit polls are unabashed in expressing their relief over the victory of the Aam Aadmi Party. The voting per cent age share of the Bharatiya Janata Party notwithstanding, there is talk of the " Delhi model" of governance__ many even call it the Kejriwal model. And discussions centre around the scalability of this " model". So far, AAP leaders have,coyly and modestly , maintained they are aiming at no more than fulfilling their promises to the Delhi electorate,and doing their work in the capital. That is a big departure from the party's aspiration when it was a babe in the arms of its chief, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and audacious in its dreams. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the baby party contested 432 s

Kejriwal's soft killer instincts

By Vijaya Pushkarna Arvind Kejriwal's  growth will count among, if not as the most significant contributor  to the Aam Aadmi party's spectacular victory in  the Delhi assembly elections. Even if they have got a few seats and votes less than they garnered in 2015, he was pitted against the most venemous and divisive campaign any politician or party has faced in independent India __ including the time around the anti Sikh riots, the demolition of Babri Masjid. Five years ago, Kejriwal had the blessings and  the benefit of Anna Hazare's movement against corruption. This time, the AAP has incumbency and are being judged on their performance, specifically, governance in the National Capital territory. Kejriwal has in a sense been like Modi__ focussed. Modi possibly has a ear only for his long time Gujju buddy , Amit Shah, whom he brought along to Delhi, first as the president of the BJP, and later as  Home Minister of India. Kejriwal may listen to a few more, but if

Why Arvind Kejriwal is worried despite the exit polls predicting a sweep by his AAP

By Vijaya Pushkarna Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar showed tremendous wisdom , when he told television channels that he would not want to react to exit poll results,but prefer to wait for the exact poll results. Alas, the party’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tewari, did not show similar maturity. The   Bhojpuri actor   was hoping to be that undeclared   face of the BJP chief minister should the party win. Tewari was free to say whatever he wanted—that they will win, win all the 70 seats etc etc. But in the party’s typical taunting tone, he added that when that—BJP’s win—happens, the Aam Aadmi Party had better not blame the Electronic Voting Machines. The focus on the EVMs   had the effect Tewari wanted it to have on the party that looks all set to come back to office. It unnerved the AAP leadership who huddled to plan how to depute volunteers to guard the strong rooms where the EVMs are stored, and keep an eye on everything around it. It did not help that the waiting