Why It S*%#s To Be a Moderate Muslim

Imtiaz a 31 year old well educated, upper middle class lawyer & a non practicing muslim from New Delhi, prays everyday for peace & hopes that he does not have to post on social media condemning the recent terrorist attacks in some part of the globe. His friends circle comprises of mostly Hindus & a few from the Sikh community. Although the Sikhs are a minority community as well, they can freely criticize the central government & the state. Imtiaz on the other hand, is viewed with scorn & derision, whenever he opposes the right wing policies of the Narendra Modi government. Any comment criticizing Modi guarantees hate filled remarks from right-wing Hindus across the country. The most common being “go to Pakistan”. He has to “compensate” for being a muslim in a non-muslim dominated country by openly supporting Indian army, India’s win in cricket (especially over Pakistan) & other competitions. It is well known that muslims are not “preferred” as tenants in hindu dominated housing societies. If a hindu sells his house to a muslim in a hindu dominated society, the other residents gang up against the hindu seller & coerce him to not sell his flat to a muslim. Even a stray comment complementing a Pakistani cricketer attracts nasty stares & nudges from his non-islamic friends. Shahrukh Khan & Aamir Khan were made to apologize for their “rising intolerance” remarks. Aamir Khan was dropped as the brand ambassador of the now nearly defunct e-commerce player Snapdeal. It is literally mandatory for every muslim now to post patriotic messages on Independence day & Republic day. On the other hand his Hindu friends have no such obligation to post anything to prove their loyalty to the country. But they too have to put up with their share of nasty comments for opposing the BJP government.

Not only does Imtiaz face derision from his Hindu friends, his overtly religious muslim friends too dislike him. Several muslims, especially those who are not highly educated, are poor & are overtly religious will hate people like Imtiaz for mingling with “kafirs”. They hate America for bombing their “muslim brothers” in Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria. They will not sing the national anthem or say Jai Hind as it is against the tenets of Islam. Love for islam supercedes their love for our country, which is why they won’y shy away from supporting Pakistan in a cricket match against kafir India. Terrorist attacks on American, Indian or Israeli soil leads to congratulatory messages amongst them. Any act of secularism invites it share of derogatory remarks. Salman Khan was issued a fatwa being a mullah in UP for worshipping Lord Ganesha, Mohammed Kaif was at receiving end of nasty comments for posting a pic of him playing chess with his son as chess is against the tenets of islam, Irfan Pathan was derided on social media for posting “unislamic” pics of his wife as her hands & face were not covered in the pic.
On being questioned about the veracity of the claims of such muslims being present in our country, Imtiaz says “Every community has it set of bad people. Islam is not different. Just because there are some Hindu groups attacking Muslims over beef, does not mean that all Hindus have the same attitude, isn’t it? Most of the people from my community are peace loving, law abiding & patriotic citizens. Unfortunately most of the muslims are from the lower strata of the society, who can barely afford a decent meal & can be easily brainwashed to embrace terrorism or join ISIS. Indian muslims strongly condemn the people & even the families of people who indulge in terrorist activities or join ISIS, as it brings disrepute to the entire community. We love India for the freedom it gives us. We would die for the country. But the recent beef related attacks, love-jihad accusations, hate filled speeches of some politicians does leave a bad taste”. On being asked whether he would sing Vande Mataram or Jana Gana Mana, he says ” Obviously. I secretly despise muslims who refuse to sing our national anthem. We have to put country first. It is the attitude of such muslims which brings the community disrepute across the globe. We can’t swim against the tide & expect to be treated normally”.

According to several muslims we interviewed, we were told ” the worst part of being a moderate muslim is neither are you accepted by the Hindus/Sikhs/Christians nor the religious muslims. Both pass nasty comments & speak condescendingly. We have to constantly prove that we are both – ideal Indians as well as followers of our faith. It does annoying at times”
On the other hand – Vivek, a resident of Kurla – a largely Muslim dominated suburb of Mumbai says ” During the Hindu muslim riots in Bombay in the year 1992-93, we were really scared for our lives, as most of our neighbours were muslim & there were very few Hindus in our colony. It was during such a tensions filled phase, when a group of our muslim neighbours came to our house & assured us of our family’s safety. We were told that someone from their community will safeguard our house & will not let rioters harm us. Now post this incident I have taken it upon myself to safeguard the interest of muslims. This time I will be the one stopping miscreants from entering a muslim household” he says.

The Opinionated Indian strongly believes that in order to safeguard the secular fabric of the nation, we need to protect our moderate muslim friends. Don’t hate them just for making anti-government comments, view them with an open mind. Do not force them to prove their love for their country time & again. Lastly trust them to do the right thing. One should not forget Sher Mohammed – a CRPF soldier, who was injured before killing five naxals in Sukma. Sher Mohammed is a greater Indian than all of us!

Sonu Tula Shiv Sena Var Bharosa Nahi Ka – Mumbai Needs to Put an End to The Shiv Sena Menace

Shiv Sena was formed by the Late Bal Thackeray in 1960’s. He fought against the growing clout of South Indians in Mumbai

Sonu Tula Mazya Var Bharosa Nahi Ka is a popular & catchy Marathi song. RJ Malishka – one of the most widely followed RJ’s in Mumbai used the song beautifully to taunt BMC for its long heritage of giving pot holed roads to Mumbai. The video shot in Red FM’s Lower Parel office, quickly went viral. Though nowhere does the RJ mention the Shiv Sena in the video – owing to Shiv Sena being the incumbent party running the BMC & having ruled the BMC for close to over two decades, the Shiv Sena took it as a personal insult. Instead of tactfully letting the video play out its shelf life, Shiv Sena corporators slapped a fine on Mrs Mendonsa – RJ Malishka’s mother for letting water accumulate in her plant pots, which resulted in mosquito breeding & threatened to raze a part of her building owing to construction irregularities. RJ Malishka was in New York, when this incident happened & wasn’t in the city to give a fitting reply to the BMC. Although she did tweet that she has 6 more songs ready & would not give up without a fight.

The Shiv Sena is a Maharashtrian Party founded in the 1960’s in Mumbai by the charismatic Bal Thackeray. He used Mahrashtrian resentment against the growing clout of the South Indian community to his advantage & became a name to reckon with. The fact that he was a cartoonist, a satirist worked to his advantage & this topped up with his superb oratory skills made people sit up & take notice. Shiv Sainiks as the partymen are known started thrashing South Indians in the city in offices, on the roads & other public places & asked them to stop the inflow of more of their ilk. Shiv Sena started demanding more jobs for ‘Marathi Manoos’. This was a time when India was reeling under the socialist policies of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. India was a poor country, where literacy was low & jobs were few. Thus the Shiv Sena had no difficulty in recruiting Shiv Sainiks who would riot or trash happless people at their leaders instance. Their loyalty to him was unquestioned. The Congress let the rise of Shiv Sena go unchecked, as they though of them as a good counter to the Communist menace which plaguing Mumbai’s factories. Even Shiv Sena’s detractors will agree that had it not been for the Shiv Sena, the city would have been under the vice like grip of the Communists & would have suffered the same fate as Kolkata – which once was India’s most prosperous city, but is now the least prosperous city amongst the 4 metros. The Shiv Sena for the longest time was Mumbai party, with hardly any inroads in rural Maharashtra. While the Shiv Sena kept winning BMC & Lok Sabha seats from Dadar, Vile Parle, Thane & other Marathi bastions, the Congress kept winning the state elections. The Shiv Sena’s crowning moment came in 1992 during the Hindu-Muslim riots, when Shiv Sainiks are alleged to have been involved in rioting, which led to the deaths of several Muslims in the city. Bal Thackeray pulled no punches while making inflammatory speeches against Muslims & instigating his people to riot against them. Despite having tons of evidence the law or the nation’s judiciary did not have the guts to arrest the party supremo. Shiv Sainiks labelled him the Hindu Hriday Samrat. Even educated Hindus in Mumbai coming from different parts of the country were heard saying “Had it not been for Bal Thackeray & the Shiv Sena, we would have been battered by the Muslims”. As expected the Shiv Sena – BJP swept the state elections for the first time in 1995.With the state & BMC under Shiv Sena control & BJP being the minority partner, Bal Thackeray was the uncrowned King of Mumbai. Due to anti-incumbency issues they lost the next state elections to the Congress-NCP combine, which went on to rule for 15 long years, before losing to the Shiv Sens-BJP combine on 2015. But this time, the BJP – owing to Narendra Modi’s charisma was the bigger party in the alliance & the Siv Sena was relegated to second place. To make matters worse, Shiv Sena couldn’t get a majority in the BMC election either, with the BJP coming a close second. Since 2015, the party or their leader – Uddhav Thackeray have never missed a chance to pull down the BJP on national or state level issues.

The electorate of Mumbai has been voting for the Shiv Sena mainly as an alternative to the corrupt Congress-NCP combine which has looted the state for decades. The Marathi Manoos hoped that Shiv Sena would fight for its right. But even a staunch Shiv Sainik will concede, that the party hasn’t done much for the Maharashtrians in the city apart from providing lip service. In fact they have in some cases come across as worse off than the Congress party owing to their history of violence. It is a well known fact that through the decades, any statement against Bal Thackeray or the Shiv Sena or any action which would hurt Marathi sentiments would lead to Shiv Sainiks barging into your office or home to blacken your face & beat you up. Shiv Sainiks have damaged public property including buses, railway stations & stores promoting Valentine’s Day celebrations (Bal Thackeray thought Valentine’s Day is against Indian values & culture). Hapless people from UP who worked as rickshawallas, milkmen, laundry guys were thrashed Shiv Sainiks & MNS as they “stole jobs of poor Maharashtrians”. Bal Thackeray even spoke about the encounters of several mafia dons like Amar Naik & several others in the late 1990’s by the Mumbai police, referring to them as “Aamchi Mule” (our boys). People have perpetually lived in fear of the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sainiks are known to collect ‘hafta’ (extortion money) from illegal hawkers, restaurateurs, retailers across the city. Shiv Sena corporators are known to own tons of gold, despite earning a measly INR 10,000 salary. The source of wealth of the Thackerays is never questioned.You can file corruption cases against Lalu Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav or Jayalalitha, but no one has dared to filed corruption cases against the Thackerays. Despite batting for Marathi culture all his life, Bal Thackeray’s grand children are all English medium educated. Bal Thackeray kept taunting the Gandhis for their dynasty politics, but when it was name his successor, he nominated his son Uddhav Thackeray as the next party Supremo. this led to Raj Thackeray forming his won party. Although people wrongly assume that pot holes do not cause severe harm, one look at statistics will tell you much fuel is wasted & the fact that pot holes have caused several deaths The party & their workers have made tons of money through corruption in the BMC, mainly through kickbacks from road contracts. A road built with good material will earn Shiv Sena kickbacks just once, but a road built low quality material will earn you kick backs from contractors year on year seems to Shiv Sena’s ideology. This has helped them fund state & BMC elections for decades. Just like Congress, NCP, TMC, RJD, SP, BSP the Siv Sena is a a party which cannot let corruption die. It is an unsaid rule, that you do not go or say against the Shiv Sena. Be ready to face consequences if you dare to do so. Journalists, rival politicians all have been victims of the “Shiv Sena Style” bullying.
With the advent of social media, one thought things have changed drastically in India. With minute-by-minute updates available & people openly airing their opinions on various social networking sites, the Shiv Sena too has realized that their actions cannot go unquestioned in the digital era. The Nirbhaya rape case, Jessica Lal murder & outrage on social media has put fear in the minds of the Shiv Sainiks. With Marathi boys getting employment in malls/MNC corporations/e-commerce setups as delivery boys the agendas of the saffron party are largely redundant. An FIR against a Shiv Sainik may lead to him getting sacked from his daily job. It is an open secret that people of Mumbai dont fear Uddhav Thackeray as much as they feared his father. It is a fact that Bal Thackeray violent antics would not get him many fans in this era.
But when the Shiv Sena harassed an independent woman for airing her opinions & joking about the pathetic condition of roads in the city it crossed all limits of decency. Can’t one even joke or speak about issues affecting the city? Things haven’t really changed after all. The Shiv Sena still thinks Mumbaikars will continue to stay quiet & look the other way when Shiv Sena’s goondaism rears its ugly heard. What party targets & harasses a single woman? Truth be told the Shiv Sena is scared of public backlash in today’s digital age & tried to gag the RJ. they want to reimpose their fear in the hearts of Mumbaikars & hence reacted this way. They have made a blunder & we need to show them they can’t walk all over us no more. Every time they indulge in corruption which adversely affects the quality of Mumbaikars or when they harass us for airing our opinions we need to hit back.

Mumbai we need to let got of our “chalta hai” or “the city which never stops” attitude & show the Shiv sena or any other party which tries to suppress us that we will hit back. It is we who have voted for them & we will not let a party which harasses women stay in power. If they come in 10’s we will strike back in 1000’s or Lakhs.
As we speak several NGO’s & citizen forums are protesting against BMC’s response to RJ Malishka. RJ Malishka too is expected to give a befitting response as soon as she is back in the city. Several Mumbaikars have spoken against BMC & the Shiv Sena for their actions on twitter & other social media platforms. It’s time we do not let go of this momentum Mumbai & show the Shiv Sena that we had have enough!

Modiji, Punish Errant Gau Rakshaks & Save Your Legacy

In the year 2014, Narendra Modi – the reformer CM & famed for his Gujarat model of development of Gujarat was handed the mandate to govern the country till 2019. He was tasked with pulling the country out of stagflation, policy paralysis & corruption – terms synonymous with UPA2 administration. He vowed to make an India, for whose visa Americans will queue up for, double farmer income, give a befitting reply to terrorists, better India’s ease of doing business ranking & make India a prosperous nation. He promised “Acche Din”

The first year of Modi regime did not bring about the drastic change, that the government was expected to achieve. He probably did not expect the opposition to make life difficult by blocking each & every bill his government tried to pass. Apart from mining bill & Insurance bill, few bills were passed by the parliament. The opposition united to block the Land Bill from passing. The first two years were marked by huge announcements – Make In India, Swachh Bharat, Jan Dhan, Skill India etc. Out of these Jan Dhan got a very positive response from the public. But, the most prominent reform – GST continued to be blocked by the opposition. He also ensured that lazy bureaucrats who had a reputation for being laidback were forced to report to work on time, due to biometric attendance system introduced by PM Modi. Strict deadlines were given to all bureaucrats, by which work assigned to them had to be completed Meanwhile, BJP lost key elections in Delhi & Bihar. The astute politician that PM Modi is, he knew that he needed to act quick & out think the opposition. As he set the stage for GST to be passed in both the houses of parliament, he conducted to surgical strikes – one on Pakistan & the other on black money. Just when people were mocking Modi’s 56 inch chest remark, post several terrorist attacks, the army entered Pakistan territory to eliminate terrorist camps. Indians were overjoyed & the opposition was befuddled. Some lousy politicians went on question about the authenticity

Modi’s cabinet ministers have done an exemplary job in their fields

of the reports & demanded proof from the army. This made them less likable & further established Modi as a someone who wont take things lying down. Just when his approval ratings were at an all time high, PM Modi took a huge gamble by “demonetizing” 86% of the country’s currency in circulation. By doing this, he fulfilled his promise of cracking down on black money & corruption. The move received mixed reactions. This forced India to move towards cashless or digital form of payments. One can’t help but admire PM Modi for taking such a huge gamble just before the crucial UP elections, which were just a few months away. This goes to prove that Modi doesn’t fear losing power due to his reform measures. The voters in UP rewarded PM Modi for his hard work by giving him a landslide victory. UP once a part of BIMARU states is now slowly on the road to recovery under CM Yogi Adityanath. As we write this article India is a military stand off with China over the Sikkim – unimaginable till Manmohan Singh was our PM. The country is now growing at around 7.1% (6% under UPA2). India is now being hailed for being the fastest growing major economy. Reforms are being rolled out a feverish pace. Sushma Swaraj, Suresh Prabhu, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal etc are all doing exemplary work in their departments. Each outdoing the other. Although opposition supporters are swift in down playing Modi’s achievements when it comes to job creation or economic growth vis-a-vis Manmohan Singh, one cant ignore the fact that global growth has slowed down drastically. Besides PM Manmohan Singh left the economy in a very bad shape. The country was growing at 4.5% in 2013-14.

It is now a foregone conclusion that BJP will win the general elections in 2019, a fact even hardcore Congress supporters will grudgingly concede. Even in the unlikely instance of PM Modi losing the elections in 2024, he will be remembered for centuries to come, for his exemplary work & the development that happened under his regime. He is most likely to be the best PM India has or will ever have.

Yogi Adityanath must take measures to stop beef related incidents in UP. Hemust rein in extremist hindu outfits

But as we wax eloquent about Modi’s achievements, we cannot afford to ignore PM Modi’s shortcomings. Since the first few months of PM Modi being sworn in, hindu fundamentalists have been tarnishing India’s secular image. PM Modi too is guilty of indulging them, by taking little or no action against them. The government was stupid enough to ban beef in several states. Firstly, to impose your religious beliefs on the entire nation is fascism & secondly not imposing it in Christian dominated states in the north east & Goa stinks of vote bank politics. Why should the state decide my diet? What next? Ban all sorts of meat in Gujarat, AP, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka, because majority of the population in these states is perceived to be vegetarian? By enforcing such laws India is now being compared to intolerant countries like Saudi Arabia. Many hindu outfits are hailing the move & the move has received positive response from several quarters. The muslims in the country are being lynched on charges of cow slaughter by self righteous gau-rakshaks. Such incidents are highlighted by the western media & are damaging India’s image abroad. Surprisingly most of these incidents happen in UP – which was SP rule, but is now a saffron state. Till last year, Sanghis kept blaming the SP government for the situation in UP, but post the election victory in UP, BJP can’t blame SP anymore. CM Yogi Adityanath must ensure that the minorities are safe. PM Modi must make it his priority to stop such incidents. Just giving lip service won’t do!

PM Modi has the choice to either cleanse his image by taking immediate corrective action or tarnish his legacy as a leader who put India on the fast track of economic development, but who failed in maintaining the secular fabric of the nation.


Is Media Above the Law?

There was this old lady in my neighborhood, who wasted no opportunity in preaching others about morality & ethics. Any girl who dared to wear short clothes or was seen talking to boys was chastised by the grumpy old aunty. As luck would have it, her own daughter grew up to wear skimpy clothes, had several guy friends & even ended up marrying outside her community. On being questioned about the morality & upbringing of her daughter, aunty promptly asked the others to “mind their own business”

This anecdote is eerily similar to the story which played out last week, where the preacher of morality & anti corruption – NDTV, previously one of the most followed, respected & admired news stations of India (till Arnab Goswami conquered the Indian news viewer’s imagination) was subjected to raids by CBI. In fact, it was not NDTV offices, but its promoter – Prannoy Roy, who’s house was raided. NDTV & other left leaning media houses wasted no time in pointing fingers at the government & calling it fascist, out for vendetta & reminded people of the emergency. Their liberal supporters alike took to twitter & other social media platforms to voice their opinion.

Which brings me to our question. Are media houses above the law? Are they exempt from criminal proceedings in spite of mounting evidence of them indulging in criminal activities? If Vijay Mallya can be prosecuted for wilfully defaulting on his loans why can’t Prannoy Roy?

Modi government till date has no record of interfering/ threatening/ curbing media houses despite reams of newsprint spent defaming the central government over various issues. Whereas, it was the Congress governments during 1975 & Rajiv Gandhi era which had curbed the freedom of the press. 20 cases were filed against the Express during & after operation Bluestar. Prannoy Roy has blocked Malini Parthasarthy, the former editor of The Hindu – a left leaning newspaper on twitter, owing to her stance on the issue. Malini, was brave enough to call a spade, a spade & support the government on the issue.

Prannoy Roy is accused of wilfully defaulting on his loans & siphoning off a cool 40-50 crores in the process. CBI claims to have ample evidence on the same. NDTV reportedly took favors from UPA governement to waive the loan off due to financial issues & has been repaying by attacking the NDA government at every opportunity.

One would be lead to believe that the government is out to bully & pressurize every media outlet who dares to speak against them, but with no other media honcho being interrogated or raided, Prannoy Roy’s claims of being the victim of vendetta seem hollow. Prannoy Roy is just another sleazy, corrupt  fraudster in a suit. Or should we say, he is the English news anchor’s answer to Lalu Yadav!

The Opinionated Indian believes that Prannoy Roy should be tried just like any other criminal in this country & should be punished if found guilty. The government should not, under any circumstances bow down to pressure from the corrupt media- politician cabal.


Narendra Modi: The Unchallenged Emperor of Modern India

People call it the golden age of tennis. Not just because, tennis is being played at the highest level ever, but because of the intense competition between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic & Andy Murray. Nobody can predict who’s year its going to be. Roger Federer dominated for a quite years & annihilated his opposition to rack up 12 grand slam victories, but the journey from 12th to 18th grand slam has been a difficult one, thanks in particular to Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer might do down as one of the greatest ever, not for his number of grand slam victories – records are meant to be broken after all, but because the legends he had to defeat to win those titles.

But, not everyone has to struggle as much as Roger Federer to retain their crown. Some struggle initially to reach the pinnacle of success & then manage to torpedo the opposition into oblivion. One such person is PM. Narendra Modi.

The fact that he walked away from his marriage & family to devote his life to this country is part of folklore. Hailed as one of the best CM’s in the country, what astonishes us is that he never held public office, before being made the CM of Gujarat. Ironically it was LK Advani, the very man who was overlooked by his party, in favor Modi as the PM candidate during the general elections of 2014. If stories are to be believed, Modi is not someone who forgets an insult. L.K Advani & Modi apparently were travelling in a car with two more people, when they happened to spot Mr Govindacharya walking. L.K Advani promptly asked then ordinary RSS worker Mr.Modi to get out of the car & walk to the venue so that Govincharya could be accomodated in the car. Truth be told, had L.K Advani been nominated as the PM candidate by the BJP, they would have lost & the country would have had to suffer another 5 years of gross mismanagement under the UPA & other secular cum corrupt parties.

Modi promised to cleanse India of corruption, strengthen the economy, bring back black money & reduce poverty. After three years, since Modi was given the mandate to govern the country, even PM Modi’s harshest critics will secretly admit, that Modi has left no stone unturned to achieve these goals. Jan Dhan, Swach Bharat, Make in India, surgical strikes, cashless economy & even the much discussed Demonetization are hugely popular moves. Despite changing the base year, the Modi government must be given the credit for getting the economy back on track. The economy is expected to get significantly better post introduction of GST.

Post the UP elections, it is a foregone conclusion that Mr. Modi will be given the mandate to govern India for another 5 years. But this article is not about glorifying Modi, it is in fact about the perilious situation of India having no strong opposition leader to stand up to Modi. All the leaders in the opposition across the country, have been badly wounded by the Modi wave. For a democracy to function at its optimum capacity, it is imperative to have a strong opposition. This helps keeps, the ruling party in check, barring which the ruling party gets a free hand to do as they please. In no way are we doubting PM Modi or his government’s intentions, truth be told BJP comes across as pious as Mother Theresa when pitted against the RJD’s or the SP’s of the country.

We list the steps to be taken by the opposition parties to get their ship back in order

  • Congress: The GOP needs to shun its anti hindu & corrupt image. The thought of a Congress MP conjures up images of power hungry, corrupt & laidback politician who surfaces once in 5 years. Congress needs to sack MP’s with corruption charges against them. The leadership has to make it abundantly clear that corruption, won’t be tolerated. Despite Karnataka, being the only major state where Congress is currently in power, stories of corruption in Karnataka never seem to die. To be concerned about the welfare of minorities is one thing & to give them way too much leeway in order to cultivate a vote bank is totally another. Congress needs to shed this pro minority & anti hindu image. Last but not the least, Rahul Gandhi & the Gandhi family needs to be sidelined. Can’t a 100 yr old party find one candidate outside the Gandhi family to lead the party? Why the obsession & dependence on that family? Due to the National Herald Case, corruption charges against Robert Vadra, Rahul Gandhi being the country’s  biggest joke, the Gandhi name is more of a liability. There needs to be a democratic structure in place within the party to elect their leaders.The party needs to realize that the modern voter is well aware of all government actions & is not as stupid of voters in the 1960’s to blindly vote for them. The party survived the exit of several politicians when Mrs Gandhi took over the reigns & edged out Sitaram Kesari. It is interesting to note, that Congress seemed to be in shambles during Mr. Kesari’s leadership, when PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the toast of the nation. One must give credit to Mrs Gandhi for getting the party back on track. Thankfully for them, owing to theirs being the oldest party in the country, voters will always have a soft spot for them. But, they have to transform & at a swift pace or else the GOP will be blasted into oblivion in a few decades time.
  • TMC: Mamta Didi’s party has recently won 4 out of 7 municipal bodies in West Bengal. Since the times Mamata Bannerjee has been the CM, her party the TMC, has been accused of being more left than the left. She is accused of employing the same old tricks of sending goons to beat up opposition workers, corruption, vote rigging, minority appeasement to stay in power. The state has no major achievement o boast of. Mamata must transform into a development oriented CM with jobs, economy, law & order before she suffers the same fate as Akhikesh Yadav.
  • BJD & JD: Naveen Patnaik & Nitish Kumar both have an image of being pro- development. Although there have been murmurs of corruption against both these parties, The Opinionated Indian truly believes, that if not for Modi, Naveen Patnaik & Nitish Kumar are the best suited for the job of governing the country. But Nitish Kumar does badly need to distance himself from RJD, barring which his clean image might take a beating.
  • Shiv Sena: It is an open secret that Mumbai’s BMC & TMC’s both run by Shiv Sena are hotbeds of corruption. The Shiv Sena is just as corrupt as Congress or UPA ally – the NCP. It needs to shed it corrupt & laidback image, or else face the wrath of the restless voter. In the recently held state & municipal elections BJP stunned the media & all political parties alike with their superlative performance. Despite coming second to the Shiv Sena in the BMC elections, it was the BJP who made waves with their performance. In spite of being an ally the party wastes no opportunity to criticize the BJP government at the state & the centre. It is the ally who criticizes the government more than the opposition. Shiv Sena has no achievements to speak about apart from criticizing the government. The once clear rulers are reduced to playing second fiddle to the BJP. Unwillingness to change will cost them dear.
  • SP & BSP: The SP needs to get their house in order. The infighting between father, son & uncle has damaged the party’s credibilty amongst the voters, BSP needs to come up with a new positioning apart from just being a Dalit & Muslim friendly party. If on ground reports are to believed, the SP & BSP should pray for a miracle for them to win or rather even put a decent performance in the next UP state elections, owing to the tremendous popularity of CM Yogi Adityanath.
  • MNS: The party which was tipped to erase Shiv Sena from the hearts of Maharashtrians is now in deep trouble. Several party members have quit, post the dismal showing in the general, state & municipal elections. The party lost the Nashik municipal elections (the only place where they were in power) to the BJP. Raj Thackeray needs to wake up from his slumber & set the agenda to get his party back on track.
  • NCP: The party dubbed as the Naturally Corrupt Party, too is going through a bad phase. With several party leaders facing corruption charges & faced with charges of mishandling the drought situation in Marathwada, the party needs to reorganize & stand a chance in the next assemble elections. Although we predict, it will be the NCP & not the Congress which will be BJP’s biggest threat during the next assembly elections.

If sources are to be believed even the combined might of all the opposition parties won’t pose much of a threat to BJP in the 2019 general elections. A nationwide alliance of opposition parties might be the answer, but seems highly unlikely. Imagine Shiv Sena-MIM, TMC-CPI(M), SP-BSP being in the same room! RJD-JD alliance has developed cracks & it remains to be seen how long the alliance will last. Rumors suggest JD might ally with the BJP in the next Bihar state elections.

Is it plain luck, hard work, political manipulation, aura of Narendra Modi or all of these factors combined is something which few can answer. But, he is in a position many would love to be in. Only Jawaharlal Nehru & Indira Gandhi have had the distinction of dominating the political scenario, like Modi.  History tells us, that there are very few leaders who have had the luxury of not having much of an opposition to contend with. The way things stand today, all that the BJP needs to do is to continue the good work it has done till now & not give the opposition a chance to bring it down.

AAP – India’s Lost Chance At Clean Politics

I remember my father telling me when I was in my first year of college “College will change you. You will be tempted to drink, smoke, flirt with women, we might seem boring to hang out with & you might lose focus from your career. Beware!” I vehemently denied the possibility of any of these happening. Drinking maybe, but smoking – no chance in hell, I am not gonna get swayed by women/ lose focus on my career. But as luck might have it I did start smoking, I did start drinking, I did fall for women & did hang out more with my friends as compared to my family. All this had a telling impact on my marks in college & my career.

This anecdote reminds me of another similar development in modern India.

During the political chaos ridden years of 2013-14 one atypical group of people had emerged in our country. They were doctors, engineers, bankers, lawyers, government servants. They were the “Aam Aadmi” people like you & I, who were fed up of wide spread corruption brought on by the socialist & so called secular parties of our country (mainly the congress).

Although even a staunch BJP supporter like me can’t deny the stellar job done by Shiela Dixit, Delhi state & central did face the issue of rampant corruption. This led to a huge stir by Anna Hazare & his then relatively unknown acolyte – Arvind Kejriwal, demanding introduction of Lokpal to check corruption. People were told about the sudden transformation of Singapore thanks to Lokpal, of how a corruption plagued Singapore, became a developed economy literally overnight!

The Anna Hazare movement made the UPA government fall into a policy paralysis. There were country wide anshans & dharnas, especially in Delhi. Large reams of news print were dedicated in the coverage of these events. There was no decision taken on various projects including defence deals, infra spending etc for the fear of another corruption scandal emerging. This started the downfall of the UPA. Manmohan Singh, who till 2011 would be introduced by “Singh is King” was now being dubbed as Maunmohan Singh. His political opponents wasted no opportunity to paint a sorry picture of our then PM.
In the midst of all this chaos, from the shadows of Anna Hazare emerged an IIT graduated ex. government  servant – Arvind Kejriwal. Never before had someone so well qualified ever bothered to let go of the perks of corporate/government life to repair the distraught political situation in India. He immediately became the hope for a better India. An India run by educated, well qualified set of people. No longer will we have to put up with shameless, uncouth, uneducated politicians like Lalu Yadav, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav etc. The new political class will shun corruption & get into an with neither of the two factions, come what may!

At the same time the maverick, charismatic CM of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi fresh off a favourable court verdict on the riots case & winning the state elections for a third term was capturing the imagination of the nation by proclaiming the unmatched success of the Gujarat development model. His biggest opponents included his one time mentor Mr. LK Advani who had long harboured dreams of becoming the PM. Modi’s oratory skills combined with administrative abilities in handling had made him a clear favorite amongst the general populace & BJP workers alike. The workers wouldn’t miss a chance to chant his name. Modi’s public outreach through social media gradually captured the imagination of the country. The ghosts of godhra were exorcised. The voters were eagerly awaiting the election to caste their vote for this man with the fabled 56 inch chest.

As Modi was putting his plan of becoming the country’s most powerful man, Arvind Kejriwal was making a few manoeuvres of his own. After denying any ambitions of joining politics whatsoever, Kejriwal, owing to people’s demand ( yeah right) succumbed to the lure of political power & made a grand entry into politics by launching a new party – AAP (Aam Aadmi Party). Thereby breaking his first promise – of never getting into politics & never aspiring to hold a political post. He launched a party which was neither socialist, corrupt like the secular parties nor hindu right wing like the BJP. Many people charmed by the promise of a new India, quit their high paying jobs & lucrative businesses to join the AAP movement. I remember reading about a woman from the senior management of a private bank quitting her job, to follow her calling.

Even die hard AAP followers were aware that their party would not become the single largest party after their first Lok Sabha elections itself. But, Arvind Kejriwal dreamt with his eyes wide open. He challenged Modi & Rahul Gandhi openly. Contested the election from Varanasi- to take Modi head on. He left no stone unturned to win the election.

But the 2014 elections clearly belonged to one man – Narendra Damordas Modi. His charisma, legendary development of Gujarat topped a huge media blitz promising “acche din” was enough to ensure a clear majority for the NDA. Few could have predicted the huge margin of victory for the NDA.

Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP along with Modi’s other opponents were wiped out. Around the same time Delhi state election results were announced. Kejriwal’s debutante party had tied with BJP at 21 seats. AAP then allied with the Congress – the very party against which it held dharnas to claim majority & form the government in Delhi. Thus, Arvind Kejriwal broke his second promise – of never allying with either the UPA or the NDA. Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as the chief minister. For the brief period that he was the chief minister, Delhi apparently changed overnight. Traffic cops, state police & government officials stopped demanding bribes. The rickshaw drivers the most harassed lot, was the most relieved. Thus becoming AAP’s biggest supporters in Delhi.  The government didn’t last barely lasted a month. Elections were called again, but this time it was Kejriwal’s crowning moment. BJP barley managed 3 seats. AAP had a landslide victory. People were anxious to know what disruptive changes the Kejriwal governement will bring.

What was Delhi’s & India’s hope quickly fizzled out into a joke of sorts. Instead of hearing about June strides their governement was making, the only news the citizens of Delhi heard was about their CM blaming the PM for everything which was happening in the Delhi & the country. The PM was apparently scared of AAP & its meteoric rise to power. Kejriwal might not be the first CM who blamed the centre for being supportive enough, but the manner in which Kejriwal regularly hurled allegations & abused made him the laughing stock of the Indian polity. The Indian middle class was disgusted with this headline grabbing, drama queen CM. Arvind Kejriwal had quickly become the most hated politician in India.

If these antics weren’t enough, the AAP lost its soul – that of a non corrupt, non minority appeasing, law abiding party. Their head was seen sharing the Dias with Lalu Yadav – a corruption scam convict, gifting a bicycle to an under age rapist from a minority community & doing everything possible to discredit the central government. Apart from the odd even rule, they did nothing for making the lives of Delhi citizens better. Millions were spent on ads speaking to various subsidies given by the Delhi governement. The party had no development stories to speak about and; relied on social welfare schemes to retain the faith of the public. But the people were furious with their CM. Why does he have to go to Bihar to campaign for the secular parties, when AAP is not contesting the elections? For how long will he keep blaming the PM & the LG? Many of AAP’s meme era including their founding memebers quit the party, owing to Kejriwal’s power hungry, megalomaniacal ways.

The NDA government meanwhile showed astute dedication towards getting the country back on track. After years of policy paralysis & the ensuing stagflation the country’s image had taken a beating. PM Modi enacted various laws & brought in several reforms to help realise India’s dream of becoming a global super power. Modi took the huge demonetisation gamble & luckily for him it paid off rich dividends. PM Modi smartly never responded to Kejriwal’s ploy of getting the PM into a never ending debate, thus annoying Kejriwal further.

AAP was tipped to win Punjab by the mainstream media. The NDA was to be handed over a huge defeat, thanks to the anti incumbency factor. Elections in UP, Goa too were just round the corner. AAP was hoping to win a few seats in Goa as well & had decided to sit out of the UP contest. The voters were anxious to find out out as to who will be the victor amongst Kejriwal & his arch nemesis PM Modi in this electoral battle. Fortune again seemed to favour Modi, as he won a landslide victory in UP & managed to come second in Goa & Punjab. The NDA pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat by forming the government in Goa, despite Congress being the single largest party.

The AAP suffered shameful defeats in Punjab & Goa. It did not manage to win a single seat in Goa & performed way below expectations in Punjab.

Instead of changing track & focussing on development, the party blamed EVM’s for their debacle. As if the electoral losses were not disheartening enough Kapil Mishra – an AAP party man accused Arvind Kejriwal of accepting a ₹2 crore bribe. To divert attention from this scandal AAP demonstrated how EVM’s can be tampered in the state assembly, using fake EVM’s.

Thanks to such antics the AAP & Arvind Kejriwal have lost all credibility. Kejriwal is compared to renowned drama queens like Rakhi Sawant. All noise & zero substance. Kejriwal has turned into the very politician whom he promised to rid India of. He is your stereotypical business class flying, abroad vacationing, corrupt politician, who joined politics just to make money & satiate his lustfor power. AAP will find it increasingly difficult to win an election anywhere in the country thanks to Mr. Arvind Kejriwal gross mismanagement of his party.

Mr. Kejriwal I don’t know how stupid the Indian electorate is to actually buy your gimmicks, but all I can say is you have been a huge let down. AAP losing the next Delhi state elections is a given & so is Mr.Modi getting a second term in 2019. It will be a matter of time before AAP will forgotten or pushed to a corner due to series of electoral defeats & the resulting infighting.

The worst affected will be the Indian electorate & the truly honest individuals who want to enter politics to make a difference. Kejriwal’s horrible performance when entrusted with the mandate to cleanse Delhi has made it doubly difficult to trust rank newcomers from corporate India who promise clean politics. The biggest gainers will be NDA & UPA – India’s best bets at stable governance. Even if a newbie with no political background does enter politics you can rest assured the NDA or UPA candidates telling the voters “Kejriwal ko Bhool Gaye? Bharosa toh us pe bhi kia tha. Phir kya hua?”

AAP’s failure in running a credible governement is one of modern India’s biggest losses. The only way forward to salvage the situation is for AAP to remove Arvind Kejriwal from the party, get back Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav into the fold & start afresh.