Rajdeep Sardesai

Rajdeep Sardesai

Rajdeep Sardesai is senior journalist, author and TV news presenter. His book 2014: The election that changed India is a national best seller that has been translated into half a dozen languages. He tweets as @sardesairajdeep

Articles by Rajdeep Sardesai
By toppling a Congress government in Puducherry, the BJP has sent a message to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where it is contesting the assembly elections with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, that the Congress is a greatly diminished force, and the party can be vanquished at any time. (PTI)
By toppling a Congress government in Puducherry, the BJP has sent a message to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where it is contesting the assembly elections with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, that the Congress is a greatly diminished force, and the party can be vanquished at any time. (PTI)

The BJP’s ruthless expansion drive

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:30 AM IST
Puducherry is only the latest instance of the Modi-Shah playbook of expanding political power. In a sense, Puducherry is now part of a pattern of Machiavellian intrigue that has been repeated from Arunachal and Manipur to Goa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh where a ruthlessly expansionist BJP seeks to consolidate its ascendancy by wangling either wholesale or retail defections.
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The Rhea Chakraborty case last year is a classic example of how untrammelled State power can intimidate the film industry — the danger of a knock on the door from the Narcotics Control Bureau is omnipresent (AFP)
The Rhea Chakraborty case last year is a classic example of how untrammelled State power can intimidate the film industry — the danger of a knock on the door from the Narcotics Control Bureau is omnipresent (AFP)

Why Indian celebrities bend to State power

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2021 06:41 AM IST
The fear of retribution by State and non-State actors, even as commercial stakes are high, tilts the balance
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The deeply troubling images of the protesters forcibly entering Red Fort, attacking the police at various places and threatening mediapersons have shaken the romantic illusion of the hardworking farmer as men and women of honour. By breaking the law, the tractor became a weapon of self-destruction. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
The deeply troubling images of the protesters forcibly entering Red Fort, attacking the police at various places and threatening mediapersons have shaken the romantic illusion of the hardworking farmer as men and women of honour. By breaking the law, the tractor became a weapon of self-destruction. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

What went wrong on Republic Day?

UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 04:50 AM IST
Farm leaders overestimated their ability to control a large and diverse group, while Delhi Police underestimated the scale of the rally
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At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

The anti-corporate texture of farm protests

UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST
It is symbolic of a wider discontent against emerging market monopolies and fears of this being replicated in the agricultural sector
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After a traumatic and turbulent 2020, it’s time to ring in a New Year with hope. And since Rabindranath Tagore is being rediscovered by our netas ahead of the Bengal elections, this is a prayer for India in 2021 that draws inspiration from the great poet-laureate.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
After a traumatic and turbulent 2020, it’s time to ring in a New Year with hope. And since Rabindranath Tagore is being rediscovered by our netas ahead of the Bengal elections, this is a prayer for India in 2021 that draws inspiration from the great poet-laureate.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

A ‘new’ India can’t be built by abandoning the core values of our founding fathers

UPDATED ON JAN 01, 2021 06:01 AM IST
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. Where an Indian identity is determined by citizenship, and not divided by the narrow domestic walls of caste, region or religion. Where true secularism demands that no state authority promote or discriminate against any religion, where equal respect for all faiths must be the basis of our constitutional secularism.
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A mass populist upsurge needs an identifiable enemy. The Anna movement had it in the imagery of Union ministers accused of corruption. The farmers protests are far more diffused(Hindustan Times)
A mass populist upsurge needs an identifiable enemy. The Anna movement had it in the imagery of Union ministers accused of corruption. The farmers protests are far more diffused(Hindustan Times)

The Anna and kisan movements, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

PUBLISHED ON DEC 17, 2020 09:34 PM IST
The Anna movement had the support of the media and middle-class and a clear enemy. The farm protests lack all three elements
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It is the recognition that any kind of farmer revolt can spiral out of control that has forced the government to the dialogue table(PTI)
It is the recognition that any kind of farmer revolt can spiral out of control that has forced the government to the dialogue table(PTI)

The limits of the Centre’s unilateralism

PUBLISHED ON DEC 03, 2020 09:37 PM IST
The protests symbolise citizen response to executive overreach. Farmers are politically too important to be brushed aside
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This is a country where more than 70% of prisoners are undertrials. At the end of 2019, more than 100,000 people were lodged as undertrials for more than a year. As cases pile up, jails are overcrowded and increasingly unmanageable. Why should those queuing up for bail in petty crime cases have to wait for months for a court listing while high-ranking individuals get an urgent hearing even when courts are in recess?(SHUTTERSTOCK)
This is a country where more than 70% of prisoners are undertrials. At the end of 2019, more than 100,000 people were lodged as undertrials for more than a year. As cases pile up, jails are overcrowded and increasingly unmanageable. Why should those queuing up for bail in petty crime cases have to wait for months for a court listing while high-ranking individuals get an urgent hearing even when courts are in recess?(SHUTTERSTOCK)

On liberty, the lack of judicial consistency

UPDATED ON NOV 20, 2020 06:36 AM IST
Decisions appear to be influenced by the status of the individual and the partisan political climate
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As the great polariser, Donald Trump was seen as unfit to heal a nation bruisingly separated by race and class. But while this viewpoint was widely shared by people like us, it was frowned upon by ‘people like them’(REUTERS)
As the great polariser, Donald Trump was seen as unfit to heal a nation bruisingly separated by race and class. But while this viewpoint was widely shared by people like us, it was frowned upon by ‘people like them’(REUTERS)

Why pollsters got the US wrong, again

UPDATED ON NOV 05, 2020 10:59 PM IST
An echo chamber bias ignored Donald Trump’s appeal in a divided states of America
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during an election rally, Bhagalpur, Bihar, April 11, 2019.(Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during an election rally, Bhagalpur, Bihar, April 11, 2019.(Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

The BJP’s high-risk strategy in Bihar

UPDATED ON OCT 23, 2020 11:41 PM IST
It wants the LJP to chip away at Nitish Kumar’s image while keeping him dependent on the BJP
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Being accused of Thakurvaad, a key charge Yogi Adityanath is now confronting, is suicidal in UP’s complex caste matrix(ANI)
Being accused of Thakurvaad, a key charge Yogi Adityanath is now confronting, is suicidal in UP’s complex caste matrix(ANI)

How Hathras can hurt the BJP in UP

UPDATED ON OCT 09, 2020 05:58 AM IST
In its recent electoral supremacy, Dalit support has been a key factor, especially in the state
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Under the guise of being open-source platforms, the social media universe has created its own code of conduct where the lines between free speech and hate speech are often blurred(Shutterstock)
Under the guise of being open-source platforms, the social media universe has created its own code of conduct where the lines between free speech and hate speech are often blurred(Shutterstock)

Communalism: The other virus in India | Opinion

UPDATED ON SEP 25, 2020 05:43 AM IST
Hate is an infection that is contagious when it is normalised as has happened in recent years
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The viewers who lampoon TV news have much to answer for, for they are taking voyeristic delight in salacious gossip(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
The viewers who lampoon TV news have much to answer for, for they are taking voyeristic delight in salacious gossip(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

On India’s stage, the theatre of the absurd, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2020 08:23 AM IST
Key actors — political parties, media, viewers, investigative agencies — have failed in their duty
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The truth is that where the Congress is undoubtedly more dynastic and plagued by an ad-hoc nomination culture, it is also ironically perhaps more democratic than the BJP today.(PTI)
The truth is that where the Congress is undoubtedly more dynastic and plagued by an ad-hoc nomination culture, it is also ironically perhaps more democratic than the BJP today.(PTI)

The myth of inner party democracy

UPDATED ON AUG 27, 2020 08:13 PM IST
The Congress controversy is a reminder that Indian parties are family fiefdoms or autocracies
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The law has failed to take its course. A majority of the 2000-odd cases related to the riots have been closed(Getty Images)
The law has failed to take its course. A majority of the 2000-odd cases related to the riots have been closed(Getty Images)

From Ayodhya to Mumbai and back | Opinion

UPDATED ON AUG 13, 2020 06:49 PM IST
In 2020, go back to the riots and violence of 1992-93. There has been no closure, no justice
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A growing number of the BJP “conquests” are actually of former Congresspersons who have gone with the saffron wind.(AFP)
A growing number of the BJP “conquests” are actually of former Congresspersons who have gone with the saffron wind.(AFP)

In the quest for power, the ethical decline of the BJP | Opinion

UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2020 07:29 PM IST
The party is willing to use all instruments for absolute dominance, becoming another Congress in the process
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Sachin was, in a sense, the last survivor, and now, he too is gone — further evidence that the old guard has reasserted itself(PTI)
Sachin was, in a sense, the last survivor, and now, he too is gone — further evidence that the old guard has reasserted itself(PTI)

The tale of Rajesh and Sachin Pilot, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON JUL 17, 2020 06:14 AM IST
In the divergent stories of the father and the son, the common theme is ambition and rebellion
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The return of Amit Shah Shah marks the unlocking of politics. For almost three months during the lockdown, it wasn’t just the country’s economy that was in a lockdown, it was also its politics(ANI)
The return of Amit Shah Shah marks the unlocking of politics. For almost three months during the lockdown, it wasn’t just the country’s economy that was in a lockdown, it was also its politics(ANI)

The return of Amit Shah to the national stage, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2020 08:12 PM IST
While his return marks the return of politics, as HM, Shah must provide a healing touch to the citizenry
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Recognise that Chinese ambitions in the neighbourhood pose a threat and restore status quo ante along the LAC(AP)
Recognise that Chinese ambitions in the neighbourhood pose a threat and restore status quo ante along the LAC(AP)

On China, the error of judgement

UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2020 06:58 PM IST
There has been a military lapse, or a political-diplomatic failure. Acknowledge it, course correct
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Don’t treat those who suffer economic and physical dislocation as invisible labour, but give them their rights as citizen(ANI)
Don’t treat those who suffer economic and physical dislocation as invisible labour, but give them their rights as citizen(ANI)

Covid-19: Where a new India is born, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2020 06:47 PM IST
Invest in health care, address inequity, stop communal politics, and let compassion prevail
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A doctor takes a swab from a police officer to test for coronavirus, Ahmedabad, May 21, 2020(ANI)
A doctor takes a swab from a police officer to test for coronavirus, Ahmedabad, May 21, 2020(ANI)

Covid-19: The unmaking of the Gujarat model

UPDATED ON MAY 21, 2020 07:12 PM IST
Its limited investment in public health has come back to haunt the state. Focus on the social sector now
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Enforcing a lockdown to save lives is one thing, but creating the conditions to protect livelihoods is another(REUTERS)
Enforcing a lockdown to save lives is one thing, but creating the conditions to protect livelihoods is another(REUTERS)

The ascent of a bureaucratic State, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON MAY 07, 2020 08:04 PM IST
Covid-19 has seen the rise of an inhuman, arbitrary, babu raj. It is time for another avatar of the State
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The coronavirus is the great unknown, and understanding its spread requires a relentless focus on hard information, and not on divisive agendas. Doctors and scientists are men and women of healing and research; they are not politicians who thrive on divide and rule. Which is why the coronavirus story must be told without the cacophony of communal politics, but by recapturing the spirit of news as a public service.(Deepak Sansta / Hindustan Times)
The coronavirus is the great unknown, and understanding its spread requires a relentless focus on hard information, and not on divisive agendas. Doctors and scientists are men and women of healing and research; they are not politicians who thrive on divide and rule. Which is why the coronavirus story must be told without the cacophony of communal politics, but by recapturing the spirit of news as a public service.(Deepak Sansta / Hindustan Times)

2010-19: The lost decade of Indian television news

UPDATED ON APR 23, 2020 05:37 PM IST
Covid-19 presented an opportunity to make TV news credible again. But it succumbed to Islamophobia
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with floor leaders of the Opposition parties on Covid-19, April 8, 2020(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with floor leaders of the Opposition parties on Covid-19, April 8, 2020(PTI)

Team India must fight Covid-19 together, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON APR 09, 2020 08:12 PM IST
The PM should set up a task force with experts, CMs, and Opposition leaders to fight Covid-19
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While notebandi could be justifiably criticised for chaotically disrupting the economic cycle, no one can quarrel with the intent or need for a three-week deshbandi to mitigate the impact of Covid-19(Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times)
While notebandi could be justifiably criticised for chaotically disrupting the economic cycle, no one can quarrel with the intent or need for a three-week deshbandi to mitigate the impact of Covid-19(Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Implement deshbandi, with care and compassion, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON MAR 27, 2020 06:31 AM IST
It requires leadership with a human touch, new State-citizen engagement, and effective last-mile delivery
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The Gandhis held the Congress together in gentler times but they no longer wield the political and moral authority to ensure the party works as a cohesive unit(ANI)
The Gandhis held the Congress together in gentler times but they no longer wield the political and moral authority to ensure the party works as a cohesive unit(ANI)

The Congress is imploding from within

By Rajdeep Sardesai
UPDATED ON MAR 12, 2020 07:01 PM IST
Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit reveals that the party structure is disconnected from its own leaders and workers
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Stray cows feed on oranges lying outside a vandalised shop, Delhi, February 27, 2020(AP)
Stray cows feed on oranges lying outside a vandalised shop, Delhi, February 27, 2020(AP)

Delhi riots were waiting to happen

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2020 08:16 PM IST
The real worry is that the ongoing violence may be a trailer, and it may soon spread elsewhere
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The idealism of the anti-corruption movement has been compromised by the harsh realities of electoral politics(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
The idealism of the anti-corruption movement has been compromised by the harsh realities of electoral politics(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Can Arvind Kejriwal go national, asks Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 08:05 PM IST
There is a vacuum in the Opposition leadership space. But the Delhi CM has his own limitations
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Union minister and BJP MP Anurag Thakur in New Delhi, January 27, 2020(PTI)
Union minister and BJP MP Anurag Thakur in New Delhi, January 27, 2020(PTI)

BJP is getting its messaging wrong, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2020 09:57 AM IST
A core voter may be enthused by the incendiary rhetoric but the less ideologically aligned may not
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The system of controlling universities through State power has been seen before(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)
The system of controlling universities through State power has been seen before(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)

The Gujarat model comes to Delhi, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2020 11:46 AM IST
The state has been stifling dissent in campuses and appointing partisan VCs. JNU fits the pattern
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