The Dangerous Mr Modi

The Dangerous Mr ModiRambabu is a dalit activist working for the empowerment of a marginalized section of the population in India’s rural Hardoi. He feels for the first time in many elections that people are being divided on communal lines. His religious identity is in conflict with his caste identity and is beginning to create pressure on him…

Can Modi Govern India?

Can Modi Govern India?Set aside the debate about Narendra Modi and his accountability for the 2002 Godhra riots and focus on the more immediate issue of whether he is capable of being a competent prime minister. Could he rebuild an effective government machine and deliver economic growth, or is he too autocratic and abrasive to be the politically…

Indian Tycoon Bucks Congress’s Image

Indian Tycoon Bucks Congress’s ImageAs the Congress Party stumbles towards what looks like a massive general election defeat, one candidate is performing with the conviction of a potential winner who believes he can help implement change in the way that India works. Nandan Nilekani, the Congress Party candidate in Bangalore South, is well aware that he has only a…

India’s State of Denial

India’s State of DenialIndia has been in a state of denial for years. It is rightly proud of its vibrant and chaotic democracy which is on show in the current general election and has survived and been accepted almost without question since Independence. But it is in denial because it has not been prepared to recognize that the…

India’s Aam Aadmi Party May Still be a Force in National Polls

India’s Aam Aadmi Party May Still be a Force in National PollsIndian voters have three basic choices in the coming general election. The bravest would be to vote for the Aam Aadmi (common man) Party led by Arvind Kejriwal in order to create the disruption that the operations of India’s political system and government machine desperately needs. Most voters of course will not do that. It…

India Polls Set for April 7

India Polls Set for April 7A few days after May 16, India’s Congress Party and the Gandhi family that head it will have been swept from power and a new government headed quite probably by Narendra Modi, the Hindu-nationalist driven and feared Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister of Gujarat will take office. This will, if the BJP has a sufficiently…

Opinion: India’s AAP: Best Hope for Governance

Opinion: India’s AAP: Best Hope for GovernanceIn a short period of time India’s Aam Aadmi Party has shaken up the political landscape by offering an honest alternative to the mainstream national parties, specifically the Congress and the BJP. What is the AAP’s credibility on certain crucial dimensions – the integrity of senior leadership, their policy agenda for the underprivileged sections of…

India’s Parliament Descends to Chaos

India’s Parliament Descends to ChaosUnprecedented chaos and violence that closed India’s Lok Sabha parliamentary proceedings yesterday graphically demonstrates how respect for India’s most revered institutions is crumbling as greed and raw politics disrupt the functioning of government and the running of the country. The protests were not even about the political issue being debated – a bill was being…

India’s Rahul Gandhi Finally Debuts

India’s Rahul Gandhi Finally DebutsAfter 10 years of refusing to face a big media interview, Rahul Gandhi spent an hour and a half on a leading television channel at prime time last night explaining how he wants to reform the way that India and his Congress Party are run. His aim, he said, is to end rule by dynasties,…

India’s Latest Defense Scandal

India’s Latest Defense ScandalFew eyebrows were raised when India was forced to scrap its US$770-million helicopter deal with Italian defense group Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland earlier this month. It was only the latest in a long and depressing litany of defense procurement scandals stretching back at least to the mid-1980s. The pact for the supply of 12 choppers, three already…