Free Press Journal
  • Rahul Gandhi should display awareness & gravitas

    It is entirely possible to be sympathetic to the argument emanating from the Congress camp that the alliance talks with the Bahujan Samaj Party in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan broke down on account of Mayawati’s exaggerated demands for seats? From a purely psephological angle, the BSP seems to have insisted on seats where its presence was nominal and where it had little hope of winning. The Congress, or so the argument

  • A melodramatic hug and a tell-tale wink

    The emphatic victory of the Narendra Modi government in the no-confidence motion moved by the Telugu Desam Party was creditable. But it does not detract from the fact that the trial of strength in the Lok Sabha was not really about overthrowing the government and triggering a general election some six months before schedule. It has become almost customary for an opposition, especially an opposition that believes it is on a political

  • session work, parliament, editorial, freedom

    More the merrier in silly season

    In many countries of the West, there exists a ‘silly season’, the time most natives pack their bags and go off on their sacrosanct summer holidays. It is also a time, Parliament goes into recess and there is a break from politics. In official India, holidays are regarded as avoidable luxuries, best reserved for inescapable family obligations. However, there is an undeclared silly season that coincides with the high summer, the school

  • Difficult case of asylum seekers & Germany

    These are troubling days for Germany. Last Wednesday evening, Germany found itself eliminated from the football World Cup being played in Moscow after a surprise defeat against South Korea. It was a moment of national dejection, a time of intense sadness in a country where soccer is an obsession. Simultaneously, the country faced intense political uncertainty following the ultimatum issued to Chancellor Angela Merkel by a coalition partner to act decisively and

  • India is no longer on UK fast track

    Last week, there was a strong undercurrent of indignation in middle class India over the exclusion of India from the list of countries approved by the United Kingdom for quick processing of student visas. In theory, this should have been a non-issue. All countries have an inalienable and sovereign right to decide who to let into their country and under what conditions. While the UK remains a relatively popular destination (though not

  • Provoking others to achieve fame

    Public discourse in a large and diverse country in India invariably tends to be episodic. What grabs the headlines for a day or even a week often sinks without trace subsequently, with historians guaranteed to not even accord it a footnote. To be fair, the print media is relatively a minor offender. But the way TV news has evolved over the past two decades, has made the phenomenon more widespread and given

  • A nationalist spoke out loud and clear

    India is never lacking in seasonal entertainment that often passes off as public controversy. The frenzy — both among the editorial and political classes — over former President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to an RSS function in Nagpur last week was a very Indian storm in a chai cup. There was a great deal of huffing and puffing before the event, saturation media coverage of the event itself and a profound sense of

  • Narendra Modi interview

    On the cusp of a great transformation

    Apart from that brief moment in 2015 when a combination of the Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections and the award wapasi stir galvanised them into frenzy, the large but disparate contingent of Narendra Modi-haters were in a state of sullen depression. At best, they were reduced to disrupting Parliament, complaining about trolls on social media and writing agonised articles. This became particularly pronounced after demonetisation and the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

  • Trying to drive the ‘good governance’ cart

    The unveiling of the ‘saaf niyat, sahi vikas’ theme to define the commemoration of the fourth year of its administration, is calculated to raise another — and by now familiar — storm of controversy for the Narendra Modi government.

  • Karnataka Elections 2018: Unholy alliance needs a dip in holy Ganges

    Winning the trust vote naturally involved dodgy moves. Yet, as Indira Gandhi often demonstrated, the electorate always nurtures a grudging respect for those who can beat the odds, ethics being no bar in war. If the battle, for the BJP, was all about defeating the Congress — and, by implication, the Old Establishment that is putting up a spirited resistance to Modi’s dominance of Indian politics — the challenge was always worth

  • Injecting politics with extra fire and power

    With just about 12 months left for voting in the 2019 general election to commence, it is only natural that political activity is getting more and more frenzied. It is also natural that the opening shots of this long and gruelling election campaign are being fired by the opposition. Being in government and having control over the state, the ruling party has the relatively non-glamorous work of governance to focus on. Since

  • Commonwealth: A last throw of the dice

    London this week was preoccupied with the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. It is an event made particularly special because this is probably the last occasion the Queen will perform her ceremonial role as the Head of the Commonwealth, an honour she inherited from her father King George VI, when the old British Commonwealth was redefined in 1948 to accommodate the newly-independent colonies, particularly India.

  • Secular media ignores Hindu disquiet

    It is extremely unlikely that the average reader of newspapers—whether in English, Bengali or Hindi—would have anticipated the violence that broke out in Asansol and Raniganj in the aftermath of the Ram Navami celebrations on March 25. The media, among other things such as entertain, shock and build public opinion, is also meant to inform its readers. Unfortunately, readers, or even viewers of local television channels, had absolutely no clue that the

  • Parliament paralysis: Democracy loses vigour

    Even by the whimsical standards of India’s 24×7 TV news channels, the coverage of the Rajya Sabha elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, was exceptionally bizarre. Whether the Bharatiya Janata Party would manage to secure eight seats or nine in UP was, of course, a matter of some interest. But the coverage was laced with an amazing measure of micro coverage of individual MLAs who boasted about their preference and, in some cases,

  • Delegation of Indian MPs meets Pak’s NA speaker

    Islamabad: A three-member Indian delegation of MPs today met Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who said greater interaction and dialogue between the two sides can play a pivotal role in strengthening ties. The delegation headed by Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor included Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta.

  • BJP favoured by lower echelons?

    IF we assume that a section of the BJP’s traditional supporters in the places municipal polls were held, shied away from supporting the party, it implies that newer voters must have rallied behind Modi. This in turn raises an interesting possibility: has demonetisation changed the nature of support for the BJP and made the party more acceptable to those lower down the income ladder? The BJP was always a party that epitomised middle class

  • Demonetisation: Narendra Modi’s monumental political gamble

    Since he dropped the demonetisation bombshell on a Tuesday evening (November 8), sending India into a state of shock and awe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again become the focus of sustained attention. As Indians, both very rich and those barely above the poverty line, have grappled with the realities of a draconian demonetisation that has put nearly 86 per cent of the cash supply of India out of circulation, there have been

  • Demonetisation: Modi’s landmark move, to leave a revolutionary impact

    Ever since he came to power in May 2014, there has been a fierce debate on the political nature of the Narendra Modi government. His supporters have stressed the charismatic and even inspirational role of the Prime Minister. At the same time, they have appeared hesitant in signalling whether his government is merely blessed with integrity and efficiency or is indeed transformational. This uncertainty has also been a feature of the many critics who,

  • It’s time dissident media came clean

    What appears to have vitiated the media environment is not divisions on professional considerations. There may be odd disagreements over according the oxygen of publicity to terror groups (including Maoists) but these are few and far between. The real schism is over domestic politics and quite extraneous to media concerns.

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