Rahul Verma
Articles by Rahul Verma

Results ring alarm bells for Opposition alliance plans

As the Congress recedes from one state after another, other parties become suspicious of its ability to add electoral heft. But the absence of alliances, the party feels, stalls its recovery strategy.

For the Opposition, though, the results hold more significant takeaways — and not all are pleasant. The Congress has shrunk further, and new players have emerged in these states. Despite the positive bump in the popularity of Rahul Gandhi, there has been no drastic improvement in the Congress’s ability to win elections. (Raj K Raj)
Updated on Mar 03, 2023 08:09 AM IST

Sena split points to a new era in politics

ECI order has short-term implications for politics in Maharashtra and long-term ramifications for family-based parties

Chief minister Eknath Shinde has the advantage of power and patronage at the moment. He also claims to be in greater tune with Balasaheb’s ideological agenda (HT PHOTO)
Published on Feb 22, 2023 12:55 AM IST

Reading the fine print of Gujarat, Himachal, MCD

With each victory for the BJP, Congress and AAP comes key lessons for all parties, which may well determine the scope and outcome of 2024 polls

All parties will rejoice in their successes. But which party will heed to the warning signs that this round has sent will shape Indian politics. (Shutterstock)
Published on Dec 08, 2022 11:20 PM IST

Mulayam Singh Yadav: Reconciling contrary strands of his politics

Many are likely to remember him as a backward caste leader who championed the politics of social justice and secularism. However, Yadav traversed a long distance – from being a firebrand socialist leader to presiding over one of the largest political dynasties in India.

Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Published on Oct 11, 2022 03:44 AM IST

It is Tejashwi’s, not Nitish’s, make or break chance

As the leader of the largest party in Bihar and with a long political career ahead of him, how the RJD scion carves out a space for himself in the shadow of Nitish Kumar will determine whether the change of guard in the state is just a blip on the radar or has the potential to be a turning point

The RJD faces several challenges. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav will need immense patience and creative energy to tackle them. Nitish Kumar can impart lessons in the art of political management, but Tejashwi will have to grow as a political man on his own (PTI)
Updated on Aug 12, 2022 06:56 PM IST

What presidential, V-P polls say about politics

Whether it be transforming the role or purpose of public offices and a churn in the federal compact, the signs of these changes are telling. It is to this end that a large section of citizens is being engaged in the indirect elections of largely ceremonial offices

The new appointees will steer the country through a significant phase — the 75th anniversary of Independence and that of the formation of the Republic, an important general election, the constitution of a landmark delimitation commission that might forever alter Centre-state relations, and the 100th year of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — and so it is important to explore the symbolic, political and long-term rationale behind the nominations. Four aspects immediately become clear. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 25, 2022 08:30 PM IST

With rising tensions, BJP faces a political dilemma

India is in the midst of a cycle of incremental polarisation. How the party treads this path will determine the future of not just the BJP, but also Indian democracy.

The die has been cast and the fallout of these events is unpredictable – both for the BJP’s internal politics as well as its governance legacy. (Reuters)
Published on Jun 29, 2022 08:11 PM IST

For its revival, the Congress must look inward

To renew its political appeal among voters before the general elections, the party must make an honest assessment of its strength, review the causes of its defeat, recreate the party’s brand, and find new avenues to generate resources

Recreating its brand value that could be associated with positive images cannot be done with mere tweaking of organisational nuts and bolts. It needs a complete overhaul. (HT Photo)
Updated on May 20, 2022 07:13 PM IST

What the state verdicts say about Indian politics

There are five big takeaways from the assembly elections, which explain the direction that Indian politics is heading in 

The BJP’s electoral success is a result of continuous political alertness and creativity. It has moved swiftly, creating one ideological wedge after the other and keeping the Opposition in suspense. (Deepak Gupta/HT)
Published on Mar 10, 2022 09:52 PM IST

Why predicting a poll wave is tough

Analysts often base their judgment on what fellow travellers are picking up from the ground, or get swayed by localised idioms. They may also fail to gauge the mood of silent voters

Any indication of a wave favouring a political party is often apparent only after election results are declared. But political analysts tend to forget that the term is also context dependent, and constantly shifting in its import. The last three Uttar Pradesh (UP) assembly elections, for example, have produced single party majorities. (REUTERS)
Updated on Mar 06, 2022 07:32 PM IST

How elections are won and lost in India

From the electoral mood and political narrative to organisational strength and social coalitions, various factors can sway elections. This round of polls is no exception

Each state election is independent of the other. A victory boosts the morale of the party. But even the elections that get labelled as a semi-final, such as UP in 2022, are unlikely to shape the verdict in 2024. (AP)
Published on Feb 09, 2022 07:44 PM IST

National, state elections: Do voters differentiate?

The verdict in assembly polls may not indicate the possible results of the Lok Sabha polls or the vice-versa, but the state results can reveal both the scope and limits of the BJP’s dominance as well as Indian democracy

People showing their voting ID cards, Panchkula , December 27, 2020 (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 01, 2022 08:03 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

Farm laws: The political rationale of the repeal

The reduction of fuel prices, extension of free ration, and repeal of the laws will neutralise the Opposition’s line of attack

The key to any political judgment is timing. The political actor must make a move at the right time to deny any advantage to opponents from the emerging situation. How the PM and his party communicate the decision to repeal the laws will determine their political and electoral success (Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 22, 2021 07:57 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

A guide to decode the UP election

Like all elections, this one too will be based on issues. But their salience in a voter’s decision matrix will change as the campaign progresses

If the BJP manages to return comfortably to power, the Opposition will get further demoralised . But if the party struggles to cross the halfway mark, it will lose its advantage in setting the agenda in the run-up to the 2024 polls. UP’s voters hold all the cards for now (Ajay Aggarwal/HTPHOTO)
Updated on Nov 09, 2021 07:20 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

The great game among Indian political parties

The TMC and AAP will eventually hit roadblocks in their expansion. But for now, the Congress will be worried at the emergence of alternatives and the BJP will be pleased at the fragmentation of the Opposition space

The declining appeal of the Congress has provided an opportunity for parties such as the AAP and the TMC to go on the offensive now. They are unlikely to let it go. (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 16, 2021 08:13 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

The centrality of OBCs in Indian politics

A set of political, social and legal changes have brought the OBC vote back in focus. Moves such as sub-categorisation and a caste census will have a deep, but unpredictable, impact

There will be a political fallout not just from the caste census but also from other associated demands such as lifting the cap of 50% on reservation, reorganising the status of each caste within their quota group, developing a better framework to identify the creamy layer, and perhaps extending reservation to the private sector. The caste census may also lead to a renewed demand to tinker with the current electoral system too — moving from a first-past-the-post system to a more proportionate representation model (PTI)
Updated on Aug 28, 2021 08:27 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

The grim world of UP’s district politics

As a ruling party, the BJP’s win in UP local polls isn’t surprising, and reflects the distortions in local politics.

This is a power-begets-power story in rural India. A decentralised governance system has brought marginalised groups into power hierarchies, yet it is also becoming an enabler of political entrenchment(Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jul 04, 2021 09:12 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

Assessing the quality of Indian democracy

The world has been under the grip of a democratic recession. The rising concern among scholars and commentators on how democracies die— to borrow the title of a book on this trend — is neither surprising nor unwarranted

Representational image. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jun 01, 2021 04:20 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

The five lessons from five assembly polls

Every party can rejoice in its share of victories, but what will shape the future of Indian politics is the political response to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic

The loss in West Bengal is going to pinch the BJP, as this was an emotional project for the party. A victory would have given the party an ideological boost and narrative advantage till 2024 (AP)
Published on May 02, 2021 10:21 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

India needs a new elite compact

No regime can govern a vast and diverse country such as India without taking social, political, and economic elites on board. PM Modi must create the space for it

The effect of these laws will neither be revolutionary nor disastrous for farmers and Indian agriculture. But in this hyper-mediatised age, both sides are playing to the gallery leaving no room for genuine conversation (PTI)
Published on Feb 22, 2021 08:39 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

The roots of the BJP’s unilateralism

It believes that the opposition to its policies is not principled. But it shouldn’t underestimate social forces

The vehement opposition the party faced between 2014 and 2016 led them to conclude that despite the party’s historic win, there is an obstructionist cabal that thinks that the BJP has no right to govern India (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 27, 2021 07:29 AM IST
ByRahul Verma

Regional parties fail to cross the final poll hurdle

The generational transition in these forces, the limits of their social base, and the erosion in their sources of finance and support have hurt state parties

State-level parties have developed a template to challenge the BJP in their respective strongholds — highlight local issues; challenge NDA’s state-level leadership; avoid walking into the trap on national issues; and stay clear of direct attacks on Modi. But this is not enough(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Published on Nov 20, 2020 08:16 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

Why Tejashwi failed to break the glass ceiling | Opinion

How did the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), then, manage to turn the rising tide against Kumar? Why could Yadav not build on the groundswell of support evident in his rallies to trounce the NDA? And finally, where did the exit polls go wrong?

The BJP left no stone unturned in reminding voters that no matter how many seats they won, Nitish was going to be CM(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 11, 2020 12:15 AM IST
ByRahul Verma

Analysis| Will the migrant crisis impact the Bihar polls?

Our knowledge about how the migrant population in India engages with electoral democracy is limited

While Nitish Kumar is leaving no chance to remind everyone that his government has made several efforts to compensate the migrant workers, the opposition has alleged that it was too little, too late(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 15, 2020 06:38 AM IST
ByRahul Verma

The Congress has four choices now

It needs to wake up to its political marginalisation. Convert the crisis into an opportunity

In states, where the Congress has slid to the third or fourth position, it has struggled to revive. As the national challenge increases, the party should remember this(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 03, 2020 05:56 AM IST
ByRahul Verma

Politicians will pose the biggest challenge to NEP

They own many educational institutions. To preserve their patronage network, they will resist reforms

Schools and colleges function as sources of patronage for politicians. This patronage can vary from the allocation of admissions to teaching jobs to janitorial positions(Yogesh Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Aug 10, 2020 08:51 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

Covid-19: An epidemic is an epidemic. A war is a war| Analysis

They are both serious threats, but using the war metaphor is harmful because it skews our response to the crisis

The Covid-19 crisis has a key role for the government, but we should not assume that only the government has the answers(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
Published on Apr 12, 2020 06:26 PM IST
BySuyash Rai and Rahul Verma

Politics is shifting to the centre-right. Delhi proves it | Opinion

Endorsing the religious practices of the majority, a strong nationalist pitch and populist welfarism is the new normal.

The BJP’s campaign did not convince swing voters but the outcome does not reflect a rejection of the ideology(SANJEEV VERMA/HTPHOTO)
Updated on Feb 11, 2020 09:22 PM IST
ByRahul Verma

By rejecting Raghubar Das, Jharkhand sends a message to the BJP | Opinion

Don’t impose leaders with no mass base; address the economy; and be prepared for a tough poll cycle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Raghubar Das.(PTI file photo)
Updated on Dec 24, 2019 08:55 AM IST
ByRahul Verma

How SC’s Ayodhya judgment could affect the course of Indian politics | Opinion

Given that the BJP is having difficulties on the economic front, and many opposition parties (who have relied on the Muslim voters) are facing challenges of their own making, this judgment may be miscued to rally supporters.

Ayodhya, India – November 10, 2019: Sadhus read a newspaper, a day after the Ayodhya verdict, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Sunday, November 10, 2019. (Photo by Deepak Gupta/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 11, 2019 08:06 AM IST
ByRahul Verma
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