Blog

12 November, 2014

A 5 pointer on why reviving congress is an uphill task

Congress, a political party which has been in power for years is a different party today. 10 years at the center was followed by a drubbing in the recently held lok sabha polls and the party today is a different outfit.

Struggling for survival against a rejuvenated BJP under the leadership of Modi, the Congress is confused, running out of ideas under the leadership Of Mr. Gandhi.

Here is our analysis:

1. Directionless leadership:

The only problem with Mr. Rahul Gandhi is his style of functioning. The party sees in him a confused leader, who does not understand ground level politics and wants to run congress like a corporate office, without understanding the realities of Indian Political Structure.
In last lok sabha elections, while Mr. Modi’s campaign was tailor made to appeal to masses, Rahul Gandhi’s campaign was a drag, showcasing him as a leader, who is trying to come out of his mother’s shadows.

By the end of campaign, the writing on the wall was clear “BJP will win” and it did win with a record margin.

2. Infighting in between the old and young faction:

Congress is a party struggling hard to bridge the old-young divide. On one hand, they have a set of veteran leaders on whose shoulder the party has survived for years and on the other, they have the new breed of young leaders, who due to their proximity to Rahul

Gandhi keep challenging the Old Guard time and again. Despite congress’s denial about an internal party tussle, the disagreement is very much evident.

While BJP has made the 70+ retirement rule mandatory in their party, congress is stills struggling to get rid of the old guard, which has openly criticized the young Gandhi scion and his band of young leaders for not doing enough during last elections.

3. The suspensions and expulsions add to the vows

Post lok sabha elections, there has been a series of veteran leaders being suspended from the party for raising their voice against the high command.

Some of the expelled/suspended party leaders have been with party well before Mr. Gandhi was in his teens.

Punishing them for calling Rahul Gandhi a Joker or questioning his style of functioning is a bit harsh and the harsh steps coming at a time, when the party cadre is demoralized further add to the woes of Congress.

Most of these leaders have joined the opposition party BJP (recently in Haryana elections) and have ensured congress’s shrinking vote share is further reduced by a considerable margin in state elections.

The anti-incumbency factor plus the disgruntled congress leaders joining BJP is considered as one of the primary reasons for congress loosing an old bastion like Haryana to BJP.

Time has come for congress to have a proper introspection of the party. Expulsions and suspensions are going to further dampen the mood of party worker struggling to revive the party.

4. The Modi Tsunami:

When Amit shah called Modi Wave a Modi tsunami in his inimitable style, he wasn’t joking. The Modi wave started before lok sabha elections and after wiping off congress in the election, the wave turned in to a tsunami routing congress off its feet in strategic states of Maharashtra and Congress.

Modi is a master strategist and knows how to play to masses.

A quality congress desperately needs today.

Unfortunately, Modi is here to stay and has the support of masses behind him.

Add it the new version of Modi, in the forms of Modi 2.0.

Congress lacks a leader or a strategy to counter the Modi style of functioning and when leaders like Tharoor openly come out and support Mr. Modi, the message is clearly passed.

“No one wants to be a part of a sinking ship”

5. The damaad gate is going to haunt congress for ages

All the elections in last one year have one thing in common. BJP attacking Congress for Mr. Robert Vadhra’s corruption scandals.

BJP has been milking this issue in every elections and will milk it further in all the upcoming elections, until and unless, Mr. Vadhra either disappears from public eye or does something noble like returning all his ill-gotten wealth.

A country suffering from economic slowdown and series of corruption scandals will never vote a party, which was at helm of affairs when all this was happening.

Despite the numerous denials from Congress about Mr. Vadra’s involvement in any corruption scandals, the facts and figures are for everyone to see. Add to it, Mr. Khemka’s struggle with Haryana government to fight against the misdoings.

Congress kind of dug its own grave by letting Haryana Govt go on a witch hunt against the IAS officer, who dared to expose the DLF-Vadhra deals.

Congress is not going through a lean patch but a worse phase.

The task to revive the party is not tough but herculean.

These are some of the news where Congress has been able to get in limelight in last few months:

Vadra made Rs 44 crore windfall gain in Haryana deal: CAG

Blackmoney: Congress dares Arun Jaitley to come out with full information

 

 

4 October, 2014

The results of recent bypoll elections has left the top BJP brass with sleepless nights and a definite introspection of their strategies for fighting the upcoming state level elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

(Vote at : BJP B-team delivers a dud, vote share drops in most states)

 

Before bypolls, the general assumption in political circles was that it would be a cake walk for BJP, which had just come back with a thunderous victory in the 2014 lok sabha elections, having trounced the nearest opposition in all the states with a huge margin of victory.

Unfortunately, we as the voters of this country have had this uncanny tendency of surprising the unsurprised. We did this when NDA was sure to win their next elections, having successfully finished a 5 year tenure under Atal Bihari Vajeypayee. The tag line “India Shining Campaign” looked too assuring and promising to have led to a defeat.

Even the worst of BJP detractors in their nightmarish dreams could not have imagined a UPA government coming to power in those elections and then we went a step further by getting the tainted UPA government back to power after their turbulent first 5 years.

So what went wrong for BJP in these recent bypoll elections?

Has the promise of “ache din aaney waley hain” lived past the expiry date?

The hardcore BJP loyalists are looking at this defeat as a slight hiccup. They believe BJP is too strong a party to recover from this small defeat and will definitely prove the detractors wrong by the upcoming state level elections.

Surprisingly, this small defeat is not as small as the gravity of word “small” sounds.

Consider the following facts:

BJP lost seats in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two of the major strongholds for BJP. Add to this, the defeat BJP suffered in U.P, where BJP barely won a seat or two. A state where they had surprised everyone in the lok sabha elections.

Some blamed the hardcore communal politics of their sitting BJP state chief responsible for this defeat and argued that BJP has to move beyond the Hindu-Muslim politics, if the party has to establish itself as a force to reckon with in all the states.

We at RankMyLeader agree no less.

Though the party could find solace in the fact that they have been able to open their account in West Bengal. Again, is this too small a consolation win for a party aiming to form government in states like West Bengal?

 

With the upcoming state level elections just around the corner, the path does not seem very clear for the party in Maharashtra. The disagreement between BJP, led by the newly appointed leader Amit Shah and the Shiv Sena Supremo, Uddhav thakre is no secret.

While the BJP, at the back of a perfect result in the recent election wanted a major share in the state level elections (a first of a kind since the days, when Bal thakre would call the shots) their state level ally in Maharashta refused to shell out more seats for them.

The Big Brother image worked perfectly for BJP until the results of bypoll elections came out but post bypoll results, the equation has now changed.

The Shiv Sena has refused to relent and has stuck to not giving any further seats to their NDA senior ally, thereby leading to a divorce in between the two political parties.

They have parted ways and will fight the upcoming Maharashtra elections as individual parties and not allies.

This recent disagreement has opened a new window of opportunity for the beleaguered Congress. Although, the party performed above everyone’s expectations in the recent by polls. This small victory in bypolls could very well be the shot in arm to boost their confidence.

We might be going overboard with our analysis into the recent bypoll elections and probably, BJP and Shiv Sena can get back their bohemia post state level elections but as of now, the road to the state level elections surely looks bumpy for BJP.

11 August, 2014

The last elections might have been the last time when we ponder over how the internet phenomenon and its social media platforms affect national politics, because the next time around, the internet might have well become such an integral part of the election process that we probably won’t even bat an eyelid. Throughout history we have seen how technological innovations can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives and economy, which is always followed by political transformation. And today, the internet has become that transforming force. It is changing everything, right from our behavior to our language – and so it is obvious that it will also change our politics.

 

Why the Internet is a Powerful Political Tool for the Masses

Back in 350 B.C., Aristotle had pointed out that man is by nature a ‘political animal’. Today, your average political animal has easy access to the largest repository of information than at any other point in our history, thanks to the internet. Moreover, the rate at which information is dissipated through the internet is ‘near immediate’. However, what makes the internet a powerful political tool is not just the vast amount of information or the high speed at which information spreads through the web – the internet and various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube create an opportunity for an individual with internet access to respond to information immediately, regardless of the fact that whether the information is received offline or online – and this is what changes the political scenario. The availability of vast amounts of information, the high speed of information dissemination and the capability to communicate with wider audiences is what is changing the way the political universe operates.

 

Earlier, the major sources of political information used to be print media and television. Political candidates would and still do spend millions to get air time ahead of elections – they controlled whatever information they wanted to release to the public – favorable news items would be highlighted, while the unpleasant ones would be chucked out. The public would only rely on these TV commercials and articles to form an idea about who to vote for – it was more “Candidate-Centric”. That changes with the internet. Websites, blogs, comments on social media and other internet platforms are far more difficult for political candidates to control.

 

Political parties have also jumped onto the internet bandwagon to further their campaigns, as was demonstrated during the last elections in India. A recent report pegged the total spend of political parties on digital publicity and marketing at a staggering Rs 400-500 crores. These politicos have realized the fact that of the total 814 million Indians eligible to vote, over 200 million have access to the internet, including 168.7 million active on social media platforms – that’s too large a vote bank, and a very vocal one at that to leave out. While they may have been spending big bucks to woo the public over the internet, the web still remains a powerful tool for the public. Here’s why:

 

  • The internet and social media channels allow for more citizen engagement on various issues at the national, state as well as the local level.

 

  • The internet provides increased access to better information on political candidates, their position on policies, and governmental decisions that have an impact on all citizens.
  • It also offers real time information on the actions taken by political leaders, and offers the public an opportunity to air their opinions.

 

  • The internet also creates a pressure on bodies responsible for informing the public to generate and offer high quality information - right from advocacy groups to news organizations

 

Also, more and more people are now turning to the internet and social networking platforms to discuss political issues. More importantly, the web allows for availability of more information for consumption by the average citizen – it offers more individualized information, as dictated by the individual, and it does so to a far greater extent as compared to other media channels. And when citizens are provided information about politics, government and policies, it empowers the public to actively participate in civic life.

 

The Internet as a Political Tool – Where India Stands

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and digital technology, the internet has proved itself to be a powerful political tool in India for both the citizens and political leaders, particularly during the recent general elections. Let’s take a look at some figures:

 

  • According to the Internetlivestats.com, currently there are 243 million internet users in India, and they are rising at a growth rate of 14%.

 

  • There are about 168.7 million social network users in India according to a report by Statista.com. This figure is expected to rise to 282.9 million users by 2017.

 

We are also witnessing more and more politicians going online, with public profiles on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They seem to have recognized the power that this medium wields. More importantly, these politicos now seem to be within the reach of the public – no need to wait in queues, grease palms to get an appointment to talk to them, with just a click we can air our thoughts on what a leader says or does – the internet has indeed empowered the public.

 

Elaborating on the impact of the internet on politics and our politicians, Google India's Industry Head Gaurav Kapur said, “With over 200 million internet users in the country, internet as a medium has found its own space in the political parties' media spends. Leading national parties are actively engaging users through digital medium. Different parties are adopting different strategies and digital spending varies from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of their total advertising budgets. The social media network is also being used by parties looking to sign up volunteers and increasing party membership.”

 

It is quite obvious that the political scenario in India has been altered forever with the internet coming into the picture, and the next elections will be actually fought over the internet. While leaders and politicians are using it to further their political agenda and gather followers and votes, the internet and social media has created a platform for direct interaction and exchange of views and opinions, which is essential for empowering citizens and improving the state of the nation.

 

Power to the People @ RankMyLeader.com

 

The internet and social media platforms have become a major game changer in the political scenario – politicians cannot choose to ignore it, as is evident from their online presence and online campaigns.

However, we are taking things to the next level at RankMyLeader.com – a dedicated platform for rating leaders and politicians based on every day news stories.

We website offers the public a chance to vote for or against leaders every day based on their actions, policies, speeches, tweets etc. and they can do so in real time, without having to wait for the next five years. While earlier the internet allowed citizens to voice their opinion about politics, there was a lack of a metric to help gauge the performance of politicians. RankMyLeader.com changes that – it offers a well-defined system for rating leaders in real time, thereby giving more Power to the People.

Join us!!! and be a part of the Revolution.

 

21 July, 2014

With the hype and hoopla subduing around “Aaa Gayi Modi Sarkar”, the government has had its share of ups and downs in last 1 month.

With the PM closely monitoring even the sneezing of his ministers, here are a few of the notable movements in last one month of the new government:

 

The ups:

  • Knitting a close relationship with neighbors: Modi’s over extended handshake to Nawaz Shareef will go down in history as a hand which went that extra mile to ensure an amicable relationship is established with our estranged neighbor. And then there were almost all the leaders from nearby countries attending the swearing in ceremony. This was a big positive for a new government starting in.

 

  • Close Monitoring: Mr. Modi means business and this has been reflected in the way bureaucrats are now being seen conducting themselves; the new ministers being asked to present a road map to how they envision their ministries working.

 

  • Securing release of Indian nurses in Iraq: Modi’s Foreign Ministry handled the situation commendably by securing the release of the 46 nurses captured by insurgent group ISIS in Iraq through diplomatic means.

 

The downs:

  • Foot in Mouth syndrome: As soon as the new government was sworn in, Jitendra Singh, an MP from Jammu & Kashmir kicked off the article 370 controversy. This was followed by V. K. Singh’s controversial tweet on the appointment of the new army chief. And just when we thought BJP loud months had adopted silence, Dr. Harshwardhan pulled off a major gaffe by speaking against condoms and sex education.

 

  • No Country for Old Men: “70+ are banned” is the new mantra of BJP, which meant there was no place for old stalwarts like Advani and Joshi. They have been totally snubbed aside by the new so called younger BJP generation.

 

  • The fuss about Sick Economy: We have heard and seen it in the past. Every new government coming to power blames the old one for the bad state of economy. Can we get down to business Now! We know the honeymoon wasn’t good and the marriage of the country’s economy to the last government wasn’t a rosy affair…This is why we gave the BJP a chance. Can the new government after making its lofty promises, please stop cribbing and get down to business.

 

22 June, 2014

An image is worth 1000 words and the one used with this blog (courtesy : the Logical Indian : https://www.facebook.com/logical.indian) is worth a million.

The whole country has had it with our bunch of insensitive politicians, who runs across all ages and political parties.

In 2012, the Nirbhaya rape case took the whole nation by storm. It was a gruesome incident, which kept reminding us on how insensitive our nation had become to women. This incident was a tight slap on the face of everyone, who took pride in calling themselves citizen of a nation that worships goddesses and has a history of brave women like Rani Lakshmi Bai.

While the whole nation had slept on these issues for years, this incident awakened the giant. There were protests, dharnas, etc which were followed by series of steps taken by government (We are not sure on how many of those have been implemented till date). At the end of the day, the whole nation hung its head in shame but like every other issue, this one did not affect a certain breed - our politicians who are immune to any kind of shame.

The recent Badaun incident and the series of more recent rape cases across the country would have led to the obvious implementation of stricter rules and harsher punishments for the guilty. The recent comments made by our leaders on rape remind us that they did not come to power for improving law and order but to make money. As one of the DGPs in UP said, this is a routine thing. Makes me wonder, if rape can be called routine - and even if it is routine, why isn’t anything being done.

Ultimately, these are the same politicians who have been chosen and sent as MLAs and MPs by us. Probably, male chauvinism has blinded them to see the obvious and has stopped them from growing out of their viewing of women as an Object.

No wonder, the mockery and absurdity of their comments has demeaned the position they hold as the representatives of public. Add to it, the apathy, insensitivity, shamelessness of our leaders. The audacity with which they go around expressing their regretful opinions should make us wonder what we did wrong to deserve this.

On one hand you have veterans like Babulal Gaur, Mulayam Singh calling rape, a mistake that boys make, which could be right or wrong (kills me) and on the other hand, you have our educated, tech savvy CM of UP evading the question on rape aggressively by asking us to not to worry, as we are safe.

You are absolutely sir. We are safe but for how long?

We have been ostriches for too long, with our necks inside the ground hoping for the obvious to not to happen to us. You are absolutely right in pointing to us that why should we worry, we are safe.
Probably, this is what has made us so weak and complacent - we have started considering ourselves as someone who could not touched by all this.

It took a Nirbhaya to bring back our senses and realize this is not Normal. It could happen to anyone, you, me or my sister or anyone near and dear to us.

If rape is bad, the unwanted comments these politicians make are worse. When I was in school, my principal always asked a question to the teachers “Who will Police the policemen?”

“Mr. Leader” It has been really long, since I passed out of school but every time I see your irresponsible comments on rape, the same question comes back to me.

“Who will stop you from making such blatant comments?”

“Who will teach you basics of sensitivity?”

“Who is going to teach you difference in between right and wrong?”

and while the rapists go around raping women, you rape all of us by rubbing salt on our wounds with your insensitive comments.

Alas!!! If only, I was given a chance to re-vote every time something like this happened.