Did polarization of Hindu votes take place in Uttar Pradesh?

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I was invited to Zee News for discussing assembly election results and there I had the opportunity to talk to Arif Mohammad Khan, who once was a state minister and an active politician, famous for being the Muslim face who quit Congress when Rajiv Gandhi, then enjoying a mammoth majority in Lok Sabha, took steps to overturn the Shah Bano judgment to please Muslim fundamentalists.

As trends appeared to settle down and it looked like BJP was all set to win Uttar Pradesh (and it has swept the elections like the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as I write), some people started talking about kabristan-shamshan and “polarization”. Continue reading

BJP’s back to back defeats in Delhi and Bihar – no lessons learnt

Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar
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Bihar assembly election results are out. BJP has lost the second assembly election in a row.

Coincidentally I was in Bihar in February early this year to attend my brother’s wedding when the first defeat – in Delhi assembly elections – had taken place. I had written about BJP losing Delhi elections then.

Based on what I witnessed and experienced during my trip in February, I felt, before the Delhi results were announced, that the BJP was more likely to lose Bihar than Delhi.
Continue reading

Reservation for Patels – what it shows about our politics and society

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A 21-year-old guy named Hardik Patel hogged headlines in the mainstream media and trended on social media today. He addressed a rally that was reportedly attended by over 4 lakhs Patels – who wanted to be declared “backward”.

This guy is demanding that Patels – who are traditionally considered socially and politically ahead of other castes in Gujarat – should be included in the list of OBCs and given the benefits of the reservation policy.

The demand sounds like trolling, but since it is taking place in the offline world, it’s some serious business. And when it comes to reservations, it’s always serious business in India.

Reservations are about politics and are about society.

Let’s first talk about the politics. Continue reading