History has an uncanny way of intruding into contemporary life and shaping our public conversation. A new controversy emerged recently over the relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Articles by Chanakya

Signals from the south for next round of polls

Karnataka gave the Congress and the Opposition contours of a successful vision. Its challenge is to now tweak and scale up this model

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar along with Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and former state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah holds hands during their visit to Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysuru, (ANI)
Updated on May 20, 2023 07:45 PM IST

The myth and reality of the SCO grouping

India recognises the group’s limitations, uses it for limited purposes and intends to work more closely with its real partners

Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Zhang Ming, defence minister Rajnath Singh and Russain defence minister Sergei Shoigu before the start of the SCO meet in New Delhi,(REUTERS)
Published on Apr 29, 2023 08:40 PM IST

How the Karnataka elections may play out

The contours of the polls are clear. BJP will want to protect its Lingayat citadel, the Congress capitalise on corruption and the JDS retain its local dominance

The state of 61 million people, born by piecing together four distinct British-era provinces, encapsulates a bouquet of drastic shifts in political equations in each of its six regions, granular caste-based voting patterns, and diverse language and faith dynamics. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo/Representative Image)
Published on Apr 09, 2023 03:36 PM IST

Can a regional front put up a credible challenge to BJP?

With a year to go for the 2024 general election, regional parties are trying to forge a common platform. But internal contradictions, the Congress’s weaknesses and the BJP’s formidable machinery remain hurdles

For electoral success, it may be more prudent to look beyond the fog of Opposition unity to the head-to-head contests between the BJP and the Congress. Unless there is a perceptible shift in the dynamics of those seats, 2024 will be a tough battle for India’s Opposition. (HT Photo)
Published on Mar 25, 2023 07:22 PM IST

Decoding India’s economy and its impact on politics

The economy faces 3 headwinds — the dissipation of pent-up demand; the slow-down in exports; and the possibility of another spring heatwave.

At a time when government food stocks are running low, wheat inflation is trending above 20% and rural demand is going to be a key pillar of support for the economy, a sub-par crop will hurt. Then there is the threat of the 2023 monsoon being weak because of El Nino conditions. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Published on Mar 04, 2023 06:53 PM IST

A year later, the Ukraine war changes the world

Even as there were tectonic shifts in geopolitics and India faced enormous pressure, New Delhi secured its interests, remained friends with both the West and Russia, and emerged as a champion of the Global South

Spy Balloons In Ukraine: A Ukrainian national flag flutters near the buildings destroyed by Russian military strike, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the town of Borodianka, in Kyiv.(Reuters)
Published on Feb 18, 2023 06:04 PM IST

The election of an Opposition in Gujarat

It is not the BJP voter, but the voter who wishes to see the BJP face questions and an effective Opposition, who holds the key in Gujarat 2022

For the BJP, this dilemma of the Opposition voter has three possible political implications. In the immediate context, it can split votes and add to the BJP’s strength, though the AAP’s ability to also take away a segment of the traditional BJP votes is a matter of a concern for the party. In the medium-term, it throws up a viable state-level alternative to voters. And in the larger national theatre, it can reinforce the AAP and Kejriwal as a potential national challenger (AP)
Updated on Dec 03, 2022 09:02 PM IST

In the Gujarat of 2022, a triangular electoral battle

The BJP, which has been in power since 1998, enters the race with an edge, the AAP enters as an aspirational force; and the Congress, with an attempt to repeat its 2017 showing. And as is with Indian politics, it’s not over until it’s over

The BJP enters the race as the favourite. It has excellent ties with large community groups in the state, a stable government and a record of bringing big-ticket industrial projects to the state. (PTI/Representative Image)
Published on Nov 06, 2022 02:20 PM IST

The road ahead for the next Congress president

The new chief will have to grapple with three challenges — the upcoming assembly elections in the short term, expanding its organisational base in the medium term, and telling the public what the Congress stands for in the long term

The Congress planned this election as a showcase of its robust internal democracy as part of its initiative to simultaneously revamp both its organisation and grassroots connect in a bid to rejuvenate its cadre, dispirited after a string of brutal electoral reverses. 
Published on Oct 15, 2022 08:07 PM IST

Halfway through 2022-23, the economy’s report card

India’s economy is likely to expand due to policies set in place to cushion the blow. However, while remaining relatively unscathed, India has to work on obstinate, if not systemic, internal challenges and the risk regarding energy security

If food security has worked to India’s advantage, then energy insecurity could work to its disadvantage, throwing budgetary math out of gear, and reviving inflationary fears. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)
Published on Sep 17, 2022 08:05 PM IST

Behind the exodus from India’s Grand Old Party

Azad’s exit isn’t the problem. It is a symptom of a deeper problem. A party with a 140-year-old legacy is today bereft of vision, leadership, and organisation, leaving Indian democracy poorer

In two national elections now, the Indian electorate has decisively rejected Gandhi.  (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
Published on Aug 27, 2022 08:06 PM IST

Five questions which we must answer on freebies

Comments by the PM and the SC have pushed the issue of freebies back into the headlines. But questions remain about State capacity, the state of fiscal federalism, and the political incentive to prioritise fiscal health over electoral considerations

State governments, especially ones ruled by non-BJP parties are increasingly finding it difficult to counter the BJP’s narrative of “double-engine” growth, which seeks to usurp the Opposition’s voter base by evoking the welfare programmes of the Centre. (HT Photo)
Published on Jul 30, 2022 07:55 PM IST

From Colombo, some lessons for South Asia

Nepotism and corruption bring ruin. Closed political systems produce bad policy choices. China’s economic engagement is predatory. Reckless economics will have consequences. And power is fragile

Sri Lanka has entered a new phase. If the war ended in 2009, the post-war phase has ended in 2022. What comes next is unclear, but economics, not ethnicity will define its future. Colombo must convert the crisis into an opportunity. And the world must help (AP)
Updated on Jul 16, 2022 07:53 PM IST

The genesis of the electoral and ideological crisis in the Sena

The party Bal Thackeray founded is fighting for its survival after a rebellion against the chief minister. The outcome will have a profound impact on state and national politics, and change the face of Mumbai forever

Despite the fluidity in the political situation now, it is certain that Sena’s attrition will transform Maharashtra’s politics. The benefactor is the BJP, which has not only avenged its humiliation post the 2019 polls but has emerged as the de-facto Hindutva mainstay in the state(PTI)
Updated on Jun 25, 2022 09:00 PM IST

What Rajya Sabha polls tell us about Indian politics

Politically, existing trends have got reinforced and the national hegemon reasserted its dominance. Institutionally, whether the Rajya Sabha can act as either a Council of Elders or Council of States remains in doubt

With 57 members either newly elected or returning to the House, the Rajya Sabha may wish to reflect on how to make the institution more effective in meeting the original constitutional vision. (HT Photo)
Published on Jun 11, 2022 08:29 PM IST

In a charged UP, why 2022 may be different from 1992

Three religious petitions have dredged up decades-old communal tensions. But there are key differences that will determine how the movement evolves — the most critical being the BJP’s increased stature

Though the new disputes may not be as important to the BJP, they keep the pot boiling and give the more extreme elements of its coalition an ideological goal at a time of increasing economic distress. (PTI)
Updated on May 14, 2022 06:24 PM IST

Centre-state ties: A new federal compact is key

Both politics and economics have forced Indian federalism into unchartered territory. The Centre and states need to work out a model that doesn’t let political competition lead to economic recklessness

When it comes to the issue of fuel price rise, which is politically contentious with huge inflationary consequences, non-BJP ruled states believe they have little room to cut duties while the Centre believes it has done its bit and would like states to act. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 30, 2022 06:22 PM IST

The next steps in the India-US partnership

Delhi needs to have an honest conversation about what Washington brings to the table, and continue its structural shift westwards

The US must continue to show the maturity it displayed last week. It must rein in voices that believe threatening India with consequences can change Indian behaviour. And it must show India how it can help meet Indian interests more effectively. (PTI)
Published on Apr 16, 2022 07:50 PM IST

In Uttar Pradesh, a new political chapter

For the BJP, the political goal is 2024. Its governance goal should be bridging divisions, improving health and education, and boosting incomes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath during his oath-taking ceremony as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second consecutive term, Lucknow, March 25, 2022 (ANI)
Updated on Mar 26, 2022 10:55 PM IST

What March 2022 says about May 2024

The PM is right. The BJP is in pole position to return to power for a third term

What does this history tell us about the significance of the 2022 elections? (ANI)
Published on Mar 12, 2022 06:41 PM IST

In Punjab, a fierce contest is on the cards

This election is perhaps the first when the power of Dalit voters is front and centre; the single-biggest issue of farm laws has morphed into questions of agrarian distress and unsteady incomes; and both contenders — the Congress and AAP — are vying to be the ultimate aam aadmi

The year’s assembly poll in the border state of Punjab is a curious election because the victor will shape Opposition dynamics more than affect the ruling dispensation (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 12, 2022 05:17 PM IST

Union Budget 2022: A wishlist for the FM

Invest in education; increase allocation to the rural job guarantee scheme and launch a similar one targeting the urban poor; enhance capital expenditure; formulate a new deal for agriculture; continue elements of the Covid-19 relief package announced last year; and no new taxes of any kind

The government should see Union Budget 2022-23 as a staging budget that both addresses some of the lingering issues of the pandemic, and sets the stage for the next chapter of the country’s growth. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 29, 2022 08:00 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh’s voters and their four choices

The outcome of the election in India’s most-populous state will depend on whether the electorate decides to support a party or a person, vote on the basis of their caste or faith, and whether a majoritarian order is successful in papering over local grievances

The practice of Indian political parties, the science of Indian psephology, the discipline of Indian political science, and the craft of Indian political journalism, for the most part, has been unable to keep up with changing voter preferences. That makes it more challenging to answer the question with any certainty. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 08:48 PM IST

The farm laws: The politics of the repeal

The most significant U-turn by the government since 2014 will shape the politics of both the establishment and the Opposition

Those partial to the government’s latest decision believe that it has changed course due to the rising alienation among Sikhs and the potential of separatist groups to stir up trouble — but this does not explain the timing of the decision. The second, more likely, explanation is the clear electoral imperative at play, especially in Uttar Pradesh (PTI)
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 07:45 PM IST

In Uttar Pradesh, does the BJP have an edge?

The stakes are high for all, but the BJP’s will to win and its fusion of leadership, social alliances, and narrative of development and law and order makes it the front-runner at the moment

For the BJP, a win will re-establish its presence as the hegemon after a set of state-level setbacks, mute criticism over its record, and make the BJP the clear front-runner for a third term in 2024. For the Opposition, a win will erode BJP’s political strength in north India, reinforce attempts at Opposition alliance, and give confidence that the BJP can indeed be defeated (PTI)
Updated on Sep 18, 2021 08:14 PM IST

Project Pegasus: India is at the crossroads

The revelations will have profound implications on India’s domestic politics, institutional relationships, and the nature of the contract between the State and citizens

Indian citizens, through the Constitution, gave the State power and subjected their own rights to restrictions. But they have not handed over the keys of their private and professional lives, even their political lives, to the State. If there is indeed any government involvement in the dark practices that Pegasus represents, it is undoubtedly a breach of contract and a violation of the Constitution (REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 24, 2021 07:27 PM IST

The political drivers of the monsoon session

Both sides have an interest in ensuring a working session. The government wants to put forth its defence; Opposition feels the occasion is ripe to corner the treasury benches

Beyond the political calculus, both the government and the Opposition must realise that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for citizens. They expect the ultimate symbol of their sovereignty, Parliament, to be the home of a civilised, even if fierce, discussion on all issues; shape laws and policies after democratic deliberation; and ensure executive accountability (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 19, 2021 07:02 AM IST

The four variables that shaped Modi’s new team

The politics of inclusive Hindutva, spatial expansion, performance legitimacy and electoral and party-building imperatives have driven the Union Cabinet expansion

Inclusive Hindutva had arrived as an electoral phenomenon seven years ago. But the BJP’s very success created a new dilemma. The new support base wanted representation, the traditionally dominant were reluctant. The expansion of the council of the ministers is thus not a reflection of the BJP’s expansion into newer groupings, but a logical next step to sustain the base with a share in power structure (PTI)
Published on Jul 10, 2021 07:54 PM IST

The battle of our times: State versus Big Tech

Both want power. And for that, both want control over information. It is time for a regulatory regime that balances freedom and accountability, and empowers the actual users — citizens.

Information is at the core of any power structure and what governments and Big Tech are fighting about is control — who gets to control information and, therefore, the narrative (Shutterstock)
Published on May 29, 2021 07:43 PM IST

The 2022 battle for Lucknow begins

Conventionally, issues of leadership, politics of identity, alliances, and organisation have determined Uttar Pradesh’s politics. But will the first post-Covid-19 election alter its political categories?

Yogi Adityanath’s leadership model, Hindutva politics, the BJP’s multi-caste base, depth of anti-incumbency and the Opposition’s strength will all play a part in the 2022 UP elections. But nothing may be as significant as the fallout of the second Covid-19 wave (PTI)
Published on May 22, 2021 08:10 PM IST
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