OPINION
DECONSTRUCTING MODI – KITNA MAZBOOT?
The Voters' Psychology
24.05.19 - Swarajbir
The Voters' Psychology



Note — As India is in the throes of the narrative about a Mazboot Neta/Mazboot Sarkar, here is a piece by Swarajbir, Punjab’s foremost playwright and poet, and also the editor of Punjabi Tribune, on the psychology that goes into the election of a leader like a Donald Trump or a Narendra Modi. This piece was originally published in Punjabi in the newspaper a day after the election results and has been translated by Punjab Today at its own initiative. — Editor

 
WHEN London Business School dons, Hemant Kakkar and Niro Sivanathan, came up with their 2017 research paper, "When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader,” it made significant waves.

Intrigued by a very Punjabi-sounding surname Kakkar, I fired on a whim an email seeking access to the entire research paper and the deductions the authors had made thereof. It was based on a survey carried out in 2016, a year before the paper hit the academia. 

The authors wanted to study a number of phenomena, including the advent of Chinese nationalism, rise of populist authoritarian leaders who are overbearing in their narrative, including the rise of Narendra Modi in India, the traction which saw Donald Trump catapulted to American presidency, the force majeure exhibited by leaders who ride upon populist slogans and beat the drums of nationalism for the unwashed masses.

Kakkar and Sivanathan primarily surveyed two kinds of leaders: dominant/authoritarian leaders who are aggressive in behavior and often exhibit questionable moral character, and prestige leaders whose personality traits shun aggression for sagacity, humility and a measured approach.

Surely, such surveys were not new. The largest exercise of this kind was undertaken in the 1940s, during and shortly after World War II, by a team of researchers of the University of California, Berkeley, which included Theodor W. Adorno , a highly regarded psychologist known for his critical theory of society.  

It was to be followed by the publication of The Authoritarian Personality (1950) that explained why, when the going gets tough, people prefer dictatorial leaders and proactively shun logical, rational and sagacious ones.

The Authoritarian Personality triggered much debate, primarily because it sought to collate the principles enunciated by Karl Marx and the theory of Sigmund Freud in the same box and argued that authoritarianism was the result of a Freudian developmental model. The Authoritarian Personality, with Holocaust as its impetus, proved to be highly influential in the field of social sciences and psychology worldwide, prompting many other similar academic ventures.

A prominent research in this strain was carried out by Bob Altemeyer, who was then a Professor of Psychology at the University of Manitoba. He produced a test and scale to measure and understand right-wing authoritarianism. His research is extensively documented in the book, The Authoritarians (2006).

Kakkar and Sivanathan’s work takes forward the work of their predecessors along the same lines. They inferred that when faced by the situational threat of economic uncertainty (as exemplified by the poverty rate, the housing vacancy rate, and the unemployment rate), people escalate their support for dominant leaders who they see as more decisive and determined; who puts forward his narrative more effectively and authoritatively; whose persona exudes dominance and influence.

It matters little, the research showed, what means the leader adopts in achieving his objectives. The survey offered important theoretical explanations for why, around the globe from the United States and Indian elections to the Brexit campaign, constituents continue to choose authoritarian leaders over other admired/respected leaders.

A part of Kakkar and Sivanathan’s research was carried out during the 2016 American presidential campaign.

As per this survey in which participants indicated their voting preference for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or neither, the sections of the populace that was more worried about unemployment and economic uncertainty in the future betrayed a marked preference for Donald Trump. A dislike for both Trump and Hillary came next and a preference for just Hillary Clinton was the third choice. 

The survey effectively showed that when a country witnesses large scale unemployment and economic uncertainty, it increases the preference for a dominant leader as opposed to a prestigious leader because want someone who can take tough decisions and execute them, or claims he has the willingness to do so.

With a rise in economic uncertainty, a sense of apprehension drives the underlying psychological fears.

With no jobs in sight, people not only face economic onslaught but also a psychological assault. 

Such people want a semblance of a crutch, of any form of support. This can only come from a leader who is seemingly powerful, who peddles his narrative loudly and with much authority, can spew slogans and deploy language which could play on the people’s innermost fears and stoke their sense of uncertainty.

What kind of a game is this? A game that never ends those fears, but stokes these further. A strong leader encroaches upon the entire mind space and successfully peddles the idea that he is the messiah who will end fears, apprehensions and uncertainty. The language of prudence and sagacity does not cut any ice. What works is a narrative of incitement, elements that further stoke the fires of fear, apprehension and uncertainty, false formulations that feed upon the majoritarian bigotry and the ability of the leader to portray himself as the biggest, strongest, shrewdest one who will not flinch from sacrifice when need be.

Kakkar and Sivanathan also ran another survey as part of their research in which people in certain American towns were given a scenario study in which participants were told about a possible terrorist attack in a small US town. They were told that while local authorities were certain that such an attack would occur, they had little idea about where and when and so were in no position to assure the people if they will be able to prevent it but will definitely try their level best to do so. 

The participants thus informed were asked to indicate what kind of leader they would like to see elected as their president given the possibility of such attacks, and their unambiguous answer was Donald Trump. Clearly, when people are struck with fear, they choose a dominant leader over a prestige leader.

History is witness to the fact that mass psychology and subconscious remain under the effect of dominant leaders for a long, long time. 

In the second half of the last century, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher come to mind as two prime examples of this phenomenon. 

Indira Gandhi fashioned herself as a leader who could take tough calls. She remained prime minister for 15 years (1966-1977 and 1980-84).

She made the biggest blunder of her political life by imposing Emergency and consequently lost the 1977 election.

Till date, the Emergency era is recalled as a blot on the country’s political history but the Janta Party that came to power in 1977 could not run the government with any amount of efficacy and the very same people who had thrown out Indira Gandhi in 1977 brought her back in 1980.

Margaret Thatcher defeated the Labour Party thrice and ruled for almost eleven and a half years.

In her initial years at the helm, she took decisions against migrants, effected cuts in public spending on welfare measures and projected herself as a tough leader. Britain witnessed demonstrations where she was vilified as ‘Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher’ but she continued her winning streak.

These examples and surveys tell the story of what persuasions and causes go into the making of an electorate’s mind.

The latest election results merely vindicate the narrative that the carefully crafted persona of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the discourse built around Nationalism and the attacks on Balakot have impacted the voting behaviour to a massive extent.

Bhartiya Janata Party has won even more seats than its 2004 tally even though pundits had predicted the 282-seat bar set in 2014 as the peak that could not have been surmounted. Parties allied with the BJP have also gained as a result of their association and the NDA is likely to hover around 350.

In any democracy, the role and responsibility of the Opposition is no less important than that of the ruling side.

Congress, that had started dreaming big following its victory in Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, would not only have to play the role of an opposition but will  also have to wage a battle and do some serious introspection to stem further atrophy.  

The next five years will be decisive for India’s democracy. These are the years that will put to test India’s Opposition as to whether it can play any constructive role or remains a scattered force as it happened in the previous five years.
 
 
 
 
The author is Editor, Punjabi Tribune.
 
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

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 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

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Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

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A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 





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TRANSPARENCY AND OPACITY
Dark clouds over the constitutional institutions
23.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
Dark clouds over the constitutional institutions



IN AN AGE of information explosion and demand for transparency in the functioning of various institutions, the country is seeing an increasing trend where attempts are being made by these institutions to put a lid over their functioning. Of course governments always like to restrict information but now it is the institutions, which are supposed to be transparent in their functioning and expect others to be transparent, are themselves turning opaque.

The latest incident involves the functioning of the Election Commission of India. Its role and decisions in the recent past have been coming under a cloud of suspicion. It is the same Election Commission which at one time was feared by all shades of politicians and its decisions were not questioned by anyone.

During the just concluded general elections, some of the decisions appear to be biased. It  delayed taking action and ignored some of the obviously objectionable statements made by certain leaders, particularly prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. It was only after a Supreme Court pulled it up that it initiated some action but even then ignored some highly provocative statements.
 
Yet it kept a lid on the dissenting note while taking such decisions. It is now well known that one of the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa, a former Haryana cadre IAS officer known for his integrity and efficiency, had opposed some of the decisions taken by the three member commission. However the Commission has not been recording his dissent and gave the impression that the decisions were unanimous. Lavasa insisted that at least his dissent be recorded. However the other two members of the Commission did not agree and rejected his contention by a majority decision.
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Institutions, which are supposed to be transparent in their functioning and expect others to be transparent, are themselves turning opaque.
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This rule framed by the Commission is questionable. Even in Supreme Court and High Courts, the dissenting judgements are recorded even if the views of the majority of judges on any bench prevail. All that Lavasa was wanting his dissent to be recorded but it was not allowed.

Talking of Supreme Court, its stand in the case relating to a former staffer accusing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment, also lacks transparency. The highest court itself did not follow proper procedures. What is of extreme concern is that while the committee of senior judges constituted to look into her complaint rejected her claims, it has refused to give a copy of its findings to the complainant. 

The courts have themselves stated in numerous judgments that the complainant has the right to be informed about the arguments and findings of any proceedings so that further action, if required, could be taken. It is mandatory to provide copies of judgment to the complainant and the accused.

Certainly it was not an ordinary case of sexual harassment and there could be much more to it as indicated by Justice Gogoi himself, yet it was all the more important that the judiciary should have come clean on the issue. Even if it was a conspiracy, the court could have exposed it but brushing the issue under the carpet has done no good to the reputation of the highest court of the land.

The same lack of transparency is increasingly seen in other spheres of public life. This is despite the Right to Information, a truly landmark initiative, which was aimed to bring transparency in the functioning of government and its various institutions. However efforts are being made by the government as well as these institutions to circumvent the law and hide information by delaying response or giving vague responses. This tendency must be curbed and citizens must be given access to all the information which impacts their lives.

While it is understood that nation’s security and safety comes first and that certain organisations like the armed forces need to maintain secrecy, there is no reason that institutions like the Election Commission or Supreme Court put a cover on their functioning. The spirit behind the Right to Information must be respected and guarded.

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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GENERAL ELECTIONS 2019
What will be the outcome?
16.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
What will be the outcome?



WITH THE OUTCOME of the general elections just a week away, and voting to be completed in just 59 seats, all eyes are on the performances of various parties and formation of the new government.

It has been a long and hard fought elections with political leaders putting in their best efforts. The seven phase elections spread over a month and a half has left the country guessing over the outcome. As a senior political analyst said, unlike previous elections, this one is the toughest to predict.

There is hardly any one who is willing to put down a figure for various parties and alliance partners. While there are differences over which party would emerge as the single largest party, there is unanimity on the point that it would be alliances which would decide the formation of the next government.

Certain significant aspects that stand out in these elections which had not been seen in any previous elections have made these elections unique and path breaking. 

For instance, till late seventies or till the end of the Emergency, it was a one sided game with the Congress dominating and with a clear face for prime minister’s post. Then came an era of coalitions with no face for the top post. Thus we had a series of leaders who became prime ministers but were never projected as such during election campaigns. These included Morarji Desai, VP Singh, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. The exceptions were Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee who was projected as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP during this period.
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Modi led his party and the coalition to a hands down victory and he has since then sought to build his image as an invincible leader. Instead of the slogan of "BJP BJP”, what was popularised was "Modi, Modi”. All this has led to building up of a personality cult around him.
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The big change came in 2014 when the BJP and its alliance partners projected Narendra Modi as an undisputed prime ministerial candidate while the Congress went without a face as it remained undecided on whether to project Rahul Gandhi as its candidate for the post. 

Modi led his party and the coalition to a hands down victory and he has since then sought to build his image as an invincible leader. Not just the alliance partners, even the BJP and RSS too were made to take a back seat. Even Modi himself chose to address himself in the third person. Instead of saying I did this or that, he would say Modi did this and that. Instead of the slogan of "BJP BJP”, what was popularised was "Modi, Modi”. All this has led to building up of a personality cult around him.

Even these elections are being contested by the BJP and its alliance partners with Modi as undisputed leader. The Congress and its alliance partners and even the members of mahagathbandhan have not come out clearly on their prime ministerial candidate. While SP and BSP are wishing for Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and other regional chieftains are nursing their own ambitions. The Congress too has not come out officially with its prime ministerial candidate but now it has become more or less clear that its President Rahul Gandhi would take up the post if Congress gets sufficient numbers to stake its claim with the help of its allies. His acceptability has certainly increased over the last few months.
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Right from ‘pappu’ versus ‘feku’ to ‘chowkidar chor hai’ versus dynastic politics, the standards have fallen to the lowest level that can be imagined.
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Another important aspect of the elections has been the divisiveness it has generated in the society. The differences have never been sharper and the political rhetoric never so acerbic as it was during the current campaign. Right from ‘pappu’ versus ‘feku’ to ‘chowkidar chor hai’ versus dynastic politics, the standards have fallen to the lowest level that can be imagined. 

In the process the real issues concerning the people have taken a back stage. We have the ‘dynasty’, Modi, Balakot strikes, alleged wrongs in the past, religion and caste politics as the major issues instead of getting economy back on the rails, generating employment, getting investments, steps to help the crucial farm sector, encouraging trade and enterprises and developing infrastructure.

The results would decide whether the country would be run either through coalitions providing for protecting the interests as well as needs of the diversity that India is or through creating a uniform system moving towards presidential form of government.

As the country gives its verdict, drawing lessons from the past and placing faith in the  hands of elected leaders, the prayer in the hearts of all citizens should be to take the country to new heights of development.

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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ELECTION ISSUES BEING DEBATED NOW
Why is Modi getting so insecure?
09.05.19 - Vipin Pubby
Why is Modi getting so insecure?



EVEN AS WE are in the middle of the election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, one aspect that stands out starkly is the issues that are being talked about to influence the voters.

None of the major political parties are focusing on the real issues which directly affect the common man. The poll rhetoric undoubtedly has touched the lowest possible levels and it is turning out to be the most bitter campaign ever since the independence of the country.

Perhaps it is because the stakes are too high in these elections but the kind of language being used is cheap and even vulgar. Can anyone imagine Atal Behari Vajpayee or Lal Krishan Advani or Manmohan Singh attacking political opponents with such harsh words?

But besides the choice of words, it is the issues being raised that are a cause of worry. Instead of talking of the developmental issues and successes of the government, prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are focusing on ‘parivar’. They have been placing all emphasis on the alleged failures of the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and have crossed all levels of decency with belittling reference to Rajiv Gandhi’s death. He was was tragically assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil militants through a suicide bomb attack. What was particularly jarring was the manner in which the remark was made : that the one who was touted as Mr Clean ended his life as Bhrashtachari number one. .
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Indian voter is watching closely. The literacy rate may still be comparatively low but it has shown its political acumen in the past.
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Apparently the attempt is to make it a contest between Modi and Nehru-Gandhi family rather than a contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

There is hardly any reference to what they called the "biggest economic reform” of demonetisation or the benefits of the GST or even other developmental works taken by the government. There is no reference to the proposed bullet trains or Swacchh Ganga projects or even speeding up construction of highways etc.

Congress too seems obsessed with the "chowkidar chor hai” slogan and has been hammering it day in and day out. The language used by some of its leaders, as also leaders of other opposition parties, is also condemnable. 

These parties, for unknown reasons, are not emphasising on the various failures of the government. They are not concentrating on loss of lakhs of jobs or mounting inflation or farming distress or failure or the government to bring back black money and those accused of cheating banks and fleeing abroad.
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Can anyone imagine Atal Behari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh attacking political opponents with such harsh words?
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The bitter campaign has vitiated the poll atmosphere and unfortunately the Election Commission of India, which has vast powers at its disposal, has proved to be ineffective. It has let off several leaders, including Modi, without even a warning despite provocative comments. Even though it is known that one of the two Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa, has been giving dissenting views on the decisions taken by the Commission, his voice has little meaning because the Commission works with the rule of majority.

Unfortunately the electoral mudslinging is being directed to Bofors versus Rafale deals rather than the corruption at the grassroots level. Common people continue to suffer from every day corruption despite attempts to introduce transparency and digitalisation. The fact is that there is little impact. Some would say the situation has worsened because higher amounts are demanded in the name of "higher risks”. 

The various political parties making big promises and announcing subsistence allowances are not talking about the economy or how will these parties generate funds for the projects being promised by them.

Indian voter is watching closely. The literacy rate may still be comparatively low but it has shown its political acumen in the past. The voters have in the past given over 414 seats to the Congress but had also reduced it to 44. Similarly it had at one time given just two seats to the BJP and had raised it to 282 last time. What the voters have in store for various parties this time would be known only on May 23. 

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




[1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 38 [next]1-5 of 186


Comment by: Sahib Singh

Congress is raising real problems of the country in which Modi govt is failed. It is PM who uses bad and baseless language and raising issues which have no concern with the peoples of India.

reply


Comment by: dr ramsey malik

K1dney donor is urgently needed A+, B+, O+, etc
blood group donors between the age of 18-65.
We give you all the entire best attempt,
we will give you honest price 5.6crore
and best treatment for your transplant as top best medical treatment it will help your future life,
kindly contact us for more information:

Best regard
Dr Ramsey Malik
Call or whatsapp No . +919667270992
email:ramseymalik@gmail.com




K1dney donor is urgently needed A+, B+, O+, etc
blood group donors between the age of 18-65.
We give you all the entire best attempt,
we will give you honest price 5.6crore
and best treatment for your transplant as top best medical treatment it will help your future life,
kindly contact us for more information:

Best regard
Dr Ramsey Malik
Call or whatsapp No . +919667270992
email:ramseymalik@gmail.com



EREPEBEB

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THE QUESTION SUPREME
What happened in that room? Cast your vote.
08.05.19 -
What happened in that room? Cast your vote.



Your politician is not talking about it, even when he is talking incessantly about issues that matter to you. But why are you silent? 

S Pal 
 
A WOMAN EMPLOYEE of the Supreme Court, who was in direct touch with the Chief Justice of India, thanks to her job description, accused him of sexual harassment. There was a long history to her allegations and some of the instances and evidences she provided were so shocking that the Supreme Court was forced to set up an in-house committee of three Supreme Court judges.

The committee started investigations which were closed to the public. The woman deposed for three days and then walked out, because her requests for a lawyer or legal assistance in the form of a support person were denied. 

What do you think is the power symmetry when three judges of the Supreme Court of India sit inside a room, a victim of sexual harassment sits across the table, and the three subject her to questioning?

A person needs a lawyer in a court even in a simple case of theft of a bicycle, or a minor street scuffle with a vegetable vendor. When there is a prospect of three judges of the Supreme Court questioning you, do you think you can survive without a lawyer?

Even a senior advocate of the Supreme Court or a former judge, if ever put through a session of grilling in a dock, would need the services of a lawyer, and saying so is a no-brainer. 

The in-house committee of three SC judges denied her a lawyer, did not permit a support person to be present, did not explain the procedure it planned to follow and has now refused to give her a copy of its final report as per which it has found no substance in the woman's charges of sexual harassment.

However, it has stated that it will give a copy of the report to the person who was accused, that is, the Chief Justice of India.

All of this happened during days when India was in the throes of election campaign to elect a Parliament and when every political party has promised in its manifesto to deliver the moon to the country's women.

And yet, not a single politician has taken up this issue. An instance as serious as a woman employee being allegedly sexually harassed by the Chief Justice of India; three top judges of the apex court investigating into the matter; and the matter hitting the national newspaper and television headlines, has not made it all an issue political enough to figure in the campaign speeches of politicians who are making special appeals to women to vote for them.
Not a single woman politician, including the devoted-to-god-for-life Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, has said a word about the entire episode.

Now, compare this episode to what is happening to the Joe Biden-for-President campaign in the US. Biden, who served as Vice President with Barack Obama and is one of the most widely respected politicians in the United States, has been accused by seven women so far of making them uncomfortable, in some cases with unwelcome touching, though none has accused him of any more vigorous assault.

Caitlyn Caruso, 22, said when she was an undergrad student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and met Biden, he placed his hand on her thigh while she squirmed in her seat to make clear she was uncomfortable. Biden then gave her a hug and held it 'just a little bit too long,' she told the The New York Times. 

A former Nevada politician Lucy Flores had accused him of kissing the back of her head at a campaign rally five years ago.

Amy Lappos said the incident between her and Biden at a 2009 political fundraiser 'wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head.' 

D.J. Hill, 59, met Biden at a Minneapolis fundraiser in 2012 with her husband and when the couple were posing for a photo with Biden, he allegedly put his hand on her shoulder and ran it down her back. 

In 2015, Biden was castigated for massaging the shoulders of Ash Carter's wife when her husband was being sworn in as secretary of defence. Stephanie Carter later wrote in a newspaper that Biden was merely 'a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful'. 

Now, simply compare the charges of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India and those against Joe Biden in the United States of America. 

The entire political class, right from President Donald Trump, is talking about the women's charges against Joe Biden. Of course, Trump is no great upholder of any ethical values. He has not been accused of having even an iota of respect for women. His conduct in the past, and the Hollywood Access Tapes should be enough to trigger his immediate arrest and trial, but that is not the point right now.

The point is that we are dealing with politicians in India who have now mustered up the courage to not even touch an issue when it is happening right there in the townsquare in broad daylight, and even then they think it is alright to seek our votes.

And we find it normal.

We are not shrieking: "But sir, why are you not saying anything about this woman? Why are you silent on the in-house committee of the Supreme Court? Why are you not telling us if three judges of the Supreme Court have done the right thing by conducting the inquiry in this fashion? Do you think it was alright to not allow the woman the assistance of a lawyer or a support person even when she is being questioned by three judges of the Supreme Court?"

This, and a thousand other questions. 

Including whether or not it was true that the Chief Justice of India told the junior woman employee to wish him "Good Morning” over WhatsApp every morning, that he would call her into his office room, and make her show him her phone and make her delete the WhatsApp messages between them, that when she wore an orange kurta and dupatta to work on the first day of Navratri, the CJI told her she was "looking pretty good today,” or that he asked her "What can you do for me?”, or whether he really slid his hand from the back of her head, along her back to her hipline, till her lower back, and then pulled both her cheeks, whether the CJI, as she alleged in her letter sent to all the judges of the Supreme Court, really "put his arms around my waist from the front" and said, "I want this from you.”? 

The cover letter of the affidavit that the woman sent to 22 judges on April 19. 
 
We needed the answers to these questions. We needed to know the circumstances in which she and her kin lost their jobs, whether the Delhi Police really did what she has alleged it did, whether her legs were tied all through the night. We need to know whether the wife of the Chief Justice of India really asked her to rub her nose on the ground. The former junior woman employee of the Supreme Court had detailed in her complaint that Naresh Solanki, the SHO of Tilak Marg police station, tried to engineer a truce between her and the CJI, and Solanki discussed it with her and her husband and then took her to the CJI’s residence on the night of January 11, 2019 where the wife of the Chief Justice of India asked her to 'seek forgiveness’. 

"In the presence of the SHO and Mr. Deepak Jain, Mrs. Gogoi told me "naak ragad ke jao (rub your nose on the ground),” the woman said in her affidavit. She also narrated that she obliged. 

We must know if it now takes only an SHO to effect a compromise between the Chief Justice of India and anyone who falls foul of him.

One can easily make out a case for institutional probity, for the need for preserving the integrity of the institution, for the issues related to power asymmetry, for the 3-judge panel found wanting while investigating such a grave episode. 

But this is more than that.

This is our politician telling us he or she is not bothered by the goings on, that we should learn to make these fine distinctions of institutional response and the rough and tumble of politics. 

This puts us in the room with the victim and a powerful man, where we decide whether to stay silent and not ask any questions about what is happening. 

By not making noise for our right to know the whole truth, we are entering a compact with the powers that be - that we wish to know the truth but if the institution is not being transparent and we are fed a version of the truth after an investigation which is not very transparent, we will either accept it, or we will be a little agnostic about it but we will not raise hell to know what really happened inside that room, why the woman was sacked, why were her kin arrested, and a thousand other whys and hows. 
-----------
-----------
Our silence and the silence of our politicians and the lack of our sense of incredulity over the story unfolding so far simply means we really do not care if this country has a credible mechanism to investigate whether the Chief Justice of India might do all this to a woman working in close proximity to him. 

You are in that room. Take a decision. 

Either be satisfied, because the CJI now has a clean chit, and you have immense faith in our glorious institution, and you know that three independent judges trained in maintaining objectivity and pursuing nothing but the truth, wherever it takes them, have found "no substance in the allegations." 

Or raise hell.

You must vote. Everyone in the country is telling you this, in any case.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 





[1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 38 [next]1-5 of 186


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Comment by: dr ramsey malik

K1dney donor is urgently needed A+, B+, O+, etc
blood group donors between the age of 18-65.
We give you all the entire best attempt,
we will give you honest price 5.6crore
and best treatment for your transplant as top best medical treatment it will help your future life,
kindly contact us for more information:

Best regard
Dr Ramsey Malik
Call or whatsapp No . +919667270992
email:ramseymalik@gmail.com




K1dney donor is urgently needed A+, B+, O+, etc
blood group donors between the age of 18-65.
We give you all the entire best attempt,
we will give you honest price 5.6crore
and best treatment for your transplant as top best medical treatment it will help your future life,
kindly contact us for more information:

Best regard
Dr Ramsey Malik
Call or whatsapp No . +919667270992
email:ramseymalik@gmail.com



TRT454HT4

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