Over the past few weeks, a lot of analyses have
But has it worked?
Have the marching farmers, unemployed youth, and the recently
With a month to go before the first of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls, here’s a look-see at some of the vital issues that will determine the fate of the ruling party. And an examination of whether Opposition ever did/really would do a better job.
From temple to terror
Qrius had previously reported on the growing
It is also worth noting that the government was also losing ground on a lot of other planks like a sluggish economy, sky-rocketing unemployment
With the Pulwama attack, the
The State’s response was blown way out of proportion by the Indian media, that left more lawmakers and civilians baying for blood. What’s more alarming is that fact that a large section of the demographic dividend seemed to care very less for the glaring lack of evidence of these strikes, or
Instead, manufactured hate and anger, chest-thumping, and the vocabulary of retribution has become a part of
Farmers have a bone to pick
Last year, a massive rally of farmers from across India marched to Delhi to highlight the worsening agrarian crisis and agitate against the Centre’s oversight. Demonstrators at the rally openly criticised the government’s anti-farmer and anti-poor policies; these are what likely led to BJP’s successive losses in the Assembly elections across three rural heartland states: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Over half a dozen farmers’ marches in twelve months have shaken the Centre to the extent that they resorted to cash handout for farmers in the Interim Budget 2019.
The latest one in February, from Nashik to Mumbai, ended with a tentative agreement between All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and Maharashtra’s BJP government, in lieu of certain assurances including farm loan waiver, pension
Shortly before Long Kisan March-2, the government was compelled to respond to rising pressure from grassroots
However, farmers, economists, and the Opposition are unsure if BJP’s amends will reap electoral fruits; they said these eleventh-hour measures are halfhearted, too little, and too late. “At Rs 500 per month, it will amount to less than 1/15th of an average household’s income. Per annum, it’s peanuts,” said agricultural economist Ashok Gulati. He added that if the government really wanted to make a difference through an income support scheme, it should double the amount by reducing food and fertiliser subsidies.
Farmers, too, are reluctant to settle for meagre half-way solutions, it seems. Land labourers across India are rising in protest of denial of their rights, demanding active protection of their economic interests. Not only that, the AIKS is also against the multi-billion dollar Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. Hundreds of farming families that thrive along the proposed route have moved court against illegal land acquisition.
There is a scandal that never goes out
The Rs 59,000-crore
Petitioners have repeatedly attacked the discrepancies in Modi’s final deal with the French government — the increase in Rafale’s price, how the government bypassed mandated procedures, that fact that the French took advantage of parallel parleys by the PMO that weakened Indian team’s position, why Anil Ambani got the offset contract, why the deal was not on better terms than the UPA-era offer.
Now the government is bent on covering its tracks, citing “stolen” confidential documents, slapping investigative journalists with the Official Secrets Act and refusing to answer key questions, several of which we have raised in this handy A-Z explainer on the complicated
The revival of this issue before the upcoming general elections stands to seriously dent BJP’s prospects of staging a return.
Economy and economic offenders
While Ambani is set to receive crores in offsets from the Rafale jet deal, his elder brother Mukesh recently entered top 10 of the Hurun Global rich list. Meanwhile, Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi
Well, we do now, but it’s not like we were intended to.
The allegedly ‘buried’ jobs report, based on National Sample Survey Office’s first periodic
This directly contradicts the Modi government’s parable of development and claims of job creation. In fact, the reluctance to publish the report shows that the Centre is uncomfortable with its findings, implying it contains damning evidence that the note ban exercise of 2016 may have adversely affected the job market in subsequent months. The report claims that instead of creating 25 crore jobs as promised in 2014, Narendra Modi’s note ban caused jobs to go missing.
The badly implemented Goods and Services Tax in July 2017 is also another factor responsible for this abysmal 45-year high unemployment rate. The comprehensive tax was intended to replace all indirect taxes to simplify taxation and boost inter-state trade. However, the implementation of GST has been marked by confusion, complicated slabs, arbitrary changes, and delayed refunds which hurt small and medium-scale businesses considerably.
Most of BJP’s economic schemes aren’t well-rounded solutions to the problem of
Increasing economic disparity and the widening class difference will be, as always, the most important poll issue. At the end of
Citizenship and immigration
You’d think these issues only make or break governments in the US or across Europe, but if the last year has been any proof, immigration and citizenship are crucial to Hindutva politics, which in turn, clashes directly with our historical perception of regional identities.
The Citizenship Bill 2016, reintroduced two years later with amendments and passed by the lower house of the parliament on January 8, 2018, has managed to stoke protests and polarise people across the north-east ever since.
In a move that seeks to grant citizenship on the basis of religion and is thus in direct contradiction of the spirit of the Indian Constitution, the Bill has become a source of
The Bill must be seen in the context of the controversial final draft of the NRC, according to which, 40 lakh of the Assamese population risk losing citizenship. Updated for the first time since 1951 to account for illegal migration from Bangladesh, the draft has left out 40,07,708 people and has refused to justify the large-scale exemption.
A few weeks ago, the long-pending demand for the Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) made headlines when protests on the proposed elevation of status for six tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh took a violent turn.
Is the grass greener on the other side?
At the end of the day, whom and what we vote for boils down to our priorities and level of social security we enjoy and desire. We may note the importance of these issues in making an informed decision but it weirdly reassuring to know that the outcome of the upcoming polls will ultimately bank on one deciding factor: our willing suspension of (dis)belief, that the Opposition CAN or CANNOT do a better job.
Judging by their past performance, the UPA era has been rife with just as many financial scandals (Bofors and the Vadra case to name a few), as well as sectarian measures whenever it’s been convenient for them.
This time around, their progressive stance on several issues have been admirable, and their secular views set them apart. From appointing the first trans woman as to head its women’s wing, to launching Priyanka Gandhi as the party’s general secretary in UP, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and the most likely Prime Ministerial candidate even hosts conferences with female journalists, at a time when Modi has not granted a single press conference in five years.
However, with respect to the entry of women in Sabarimala, and instituting the blasphemy law in Punjab, Congress’s regressive side has proved it has a long way to go before the Gandhis can portray themselves as a foil to right-wing Hindutva politics. Election campaigns cannot revolve around name-calling and criticism alone, but be grounded in comprehensive measures to solve existing problems.
Prarthana Mitra is a Staff Writer at Qrius
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