Monthly Archives: JANUARY 2019

It’s less about arithmetic, more about chemistry among leaders
27.01.19 - VIPIN PUBBY

WITH THE EXPECTED announcement of general elections in a couple of months all the political parties, as well as the government, have now got into election mode. The big question is whether the NDA Government would stage a comeback or whether a group of non-BJP parties trying to form a mahagathbandhan would come to power.

The recent massive rally organised by West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerji in Kolkata sounded the bugle for the mahagatbandhan with 23 political parties, including several regional parties, putting up a show of strength. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders reacted by saying that there were at least eight leaders at the rally who were aspirants for the post of prime minister and claimed that the alliance is unlikely to take off.

While the BJP leaders may be dismissive of the attempts of these political parties to join hands, it ...

High public offices and provision of cooling off period for post retirement jobs
20.01.19 - VIPIN PUBBY

THE CONTROVERSY regarding the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation A K Verma had an unexpected fallout in the resignation of Justice A K Sikri from a post-retirement job. The judge, who is due for retirement in March, has maintained the highest standards of morality by declining the offer to uphold the principle that Justice should not only be done but also seen to be done.

While no one had any doubt over the high integrity of Justice Sikri (in pic), the entire episode has focused attention on the question on post retirement jobs for people in high and independent public offices. It has revived the demand that there should be a mandatory provision of cooling off period, or a ban on appointment by government, for at least two years after the retirement.

Justice Sikri, to be fair to him, came into the focus of the controversy quite unfairly. He was ...

Two Punjabs, India-Pakistan Trade and the China Factor

After the foundation stone ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 28, 2018, India and Pakistan were engaged in a war of words. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a day after the ceremony that Prime Minister Imran Khan had thrown a "googly” as a result of which India — which so far had refused to engage with Pakistan — had to send two central ministers to attend the ceremony.

India Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj criticised Qureshi’s googly statement, arguing that this reflected Pakistan’s insensitivity towards the Sikh community. Khan did some damage control, saying that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was not a "googly,” but in fact a genuine overture: "The [ground-breaking] ceremony [of Kartarpur] was a peace initiative. It was a sincere effort. So was the invitation extended to the Indian ministers. It was not a googly for sure.”
While there is no doubt that certain sections of ...

The ground is shifting from hope to cynicism
02.01.19 - Shankkar Aiyar

IN ONE OF his most profound reflections, Albert Einstein observed, "Time is an illusion”. And politics is probably the most eloquent and live installation of the distilled insight. It is, after all, what lies between what was and what will be. Those who do not learn to leverage what is tend to be left lamenting about what was and struggle to confront what will be.

It is barely nine months since the BJP declared, rather re-declared its invincibility from Dwarka to Dimapur after winning in Tripura. In March 2018, the political map of India was awash with saffron flags. Prakash Javadekar coined "from 5 to 21 states”, a line to articulate the march of the juggernaut to power in states accounting for 70 per cent of the population. The Congress, sans a stance or subscription, was stranded in a shrinking bubble. Post the historic victory in Tripura, BJP President Amit Shah ...




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