Elections, Obama etc

Today was a good day as far as the quantity of news stories and op-eds are concerned. First there was Samajwadi Party shooting itself in the foot with its manifesto that I referred to in my previous post. Then – I didn’t notice this before but the Times of India has managed to publish the columns of a rightist (Dasgupta) , leftist (Akbar) and centrist (Swami) on the same page – Swapan Dasgupta mocks the snobbery of the elitists standing for elections-

If editorial approval, Facebook encouragement and celebrity endorsements can shape an election, Independent candidate Meera Sanyal will be the clear winner in battle for Mumbai South. Needless to say, the possibility of such an outcome is about as high as Sonia Gandhi making an extempore speech. The best that Sanyal, the “daughter of Mumbai South” who (in the spirited prose of Shobhaa De) has deigned “to get her hands dirty”, can hope is to save her security deposit. The same is true for Mallika Sarabhai who is taking on L K Advani in Gandhinagar on the strength of her illustrious surname and local roots.

They need political parties, he says. Then MJ Akbar, former editor of The Asian Age, says that Obama has committed his first howler

If necessity is the mother of invention then politics is often the father. Barack Obama has invented a phrase that did not exist on January 20, the day he became president. Anxious to win a war through the treasury rather than the Pentagon, he has discovered something called the “moderate Taliban” in Afghanistan. Joe Biden, his vice president, has found the mathematical coordinates of this oxymoron: only 5% of the Taliban are “extremists”.

Welcome to Obama’s first big mistake.

He’s wrong. I have lost count of all the “mistakes” Obama has committed since he entered office – genuflecting before the Saudi king should probably be right up there – not to mention all the broken promises. Frost never said anything about that. As for “AFPAK,” its doomed from the very beginning and India should stay out of the whole mess. I suspect that’s why Holbrooke made the visit last week. Akbar makes eminent sense here-

Washington has a single dimension definition of “moderate”: anyone who stops an active, immediate war against the US is a “moderate”. Let me introduce him to a couple of “moderate Taliban”. They are now world famous, having been on every national and international news channel these past few days, stars of a video clip from Swat. Two of them had pinned down a 17-year-old girl called Chand Bibi, while a third, his face shrouded, lashed her with a whip 37 times on suspicion of being seen with a man who was not her father or brother.

Obama should record the screams of Chand Bibi and play them to his daughters as the “moderate” music to which he wants to dance in his Afghan war.

Then there was another edition of the daily political theater on TIMES NOW. Dileep Padgaonkar and Harish Salve proved their naiveté by asking how is it that the two major political parties cannot come up with a 1000 “non-criminal” candidates among themselves, or something to that effect. The Scindia scion proved that he is a great politician – the Congress couldn’t contain its glee while it was berating Varun Gandhi for his hate speech, but when Goswami asked him why it had not taken a position on the man-who-hasn’t-learnt-his-lessons-yet’s – Vaiko’s – threat of a “bloodbath” if the Tamil terror outfit chief Prabhakaran was hurt – he criticized-but-did-not-criticize. I think I now know which scion Ramesh Ramanathan was referring to when he wrote this-

After the Mumbai attacks, we saw many states going to the polls. I have seen some of the post-poll interactions among senior politicians, both winners and losers. One was with a political scion. This young parliamentarian told me disparagingly, “Your columns with their elegant ideas, all the media talk about a new wave of development and governance—all romantic nonsense. We are still working the same political equations on the same age-old formulae. I can show you one district where I spent months bringing development to the areas and we won just one seat. And another district where we played the most cynical form of electoral politics and we won a majority of the seats.”

I sincerely hope that Mayawati becomes the next Prime Minister of India – only then will the Indian people, and all the crooks running around come to know where their policies and politics takes them. “Louis XVI” and the “Queen of Hearts” will make a nice pair – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy can go down the drain hand in hand.

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  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On April 14, 2009 at 12:41 am

    what happened to that poll survey you were going to post. december has long gone?

    • Aristotle The Geek  On April 14, 2009 at 1:40 am

      I think I said, Feb, or March, and even that has passed. I got caught up in economics and philosophy, you see?

      Its not a “survey” that I promised – just a “tukka” on who I think will form the government. The information I have in hand is incomplete and I can’t predict that. But as of today this is my opinion on the states (the party I mention will score more than the others – they may not necessarily sweep the state)-
      * Jayalalitha’s combine will sweep Tamil Nadu.
      * Kerala – Congress’ UDF.
      * Karnataka – BJP.
      * Andhra – I am not clear how the alliances have progressed – the last I heard, there was a small problem between TDP and TRS, but if Congress goes alone, the opposition TDP-TRS-Left combine will win.
      * UP – Mayawati 35-45 seats. The rest will be shared between the Congress, BJP and SP. SP will be #2 though.
      * Maharashtra – ashamed to say this – no clue.
      * Gujarat – BJP
      * Rajasthan – Congress
      * MP – BJP
      * Delhi – Congress
      * Bihar – BJP-JDU
      * West Bengal – Congress-TMC
      * Orissa – can’t say, yet.
      I haven’t paid much attention to the other states.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On April 14, 2009 at 9:47 am

    it’s been a bad year for the congress. price rise, recession, inflation, terrorist attacks etc etc. so technically, the BJP should come out as a winner but the poll surveys from different media houses gives a different and confusing picture. maharashtra has always been ripe on caste discrimination so im guessing NCP would win it with just a vote or two more. BJP will win at least 1 seat in kerala atleast in the communal sensitive area of kasargod. the defining factor in my opinion would be the eventual break up of the third front. in that scenario, you’ll be left with the telangana block, the BSP and others. word is that BJP has been heavily campaigning in the telangana district promising a separate state. the BJP has fielded candidates in all the three states except TN. the foreign policy of congress is clear on SL, so if JL were the deciding factor to choose between congress and bjp, who’d you think she’d choose. like i said earlier, technically, the power should switch hands to the bjp but if it doesn’t then it’s clearly a war between the secular and the communal, not a regional war.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On April 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      Maharashtra – I think MNS will eat into SS-BJP’s vote bank. In that case, it is advantage Congress-NCP.

      Andhra – the situation is tricky. See these reports – 1 and 2. If YSR wins the assembly polls, then the Congress will also take the LS seats. I don’t know whose votes Chiranjeevi will split – TDP’s or Congress’. As far as Telangana is concerned, Congress broke its promise. That’s why TRS came out of the UPA. If there is a resultant backlash, Congress would hurt there.

      JL – I don’t think anybody trusts – or should trust – her. She’s like Mayawati as far as her nature and politics goes – a bit more sophisticated that’s all. If she becomes king maker, she will demand that she become PM – she has ambitions.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On April 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    i think two states will play the deciding factor in the end. viz. telangana and TN. mayawati is impossible to get plus she has authority issues. i don’t see her talking orders from the nda or the upa. when the third front falls, she’ll be limited to UP and fade away till the next LS elections. there’s no way a third front can form without bjp or congress’s support. eventually the TF members will give up “waiting” and flock to other parties. karat is a no brainer and he simply believes in miracles and that’s it. times now was showing an interview of JL today and she kept repeating two things. 1) aiadmk’s allegiance to india and priority to the countries national interests as a whole and 2) lanka genocide. but i met some aiadmk fans on some blog and they were very sure that she’ll join the NDA if it helps them become a part of the centre.

    the MNS fury has all faded away. the mumbai attack washed them all out. i don’t see them winning a single seat in maharashtra. and yes, all they’ll do is hurt the SS.

    regarding telangana. the bjp will get around 5-7 seats while INC and the trs/tdp/cpi will get 12-15 seats each. question is, will tdp/trs agree to spend another 5 doing nothing or will they want to be at the centre. remember, congress has closed there doors for them.

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