The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday, 20 May 2019

IF EXIT POLLS ARE RIGHT


The country goes back to presidential style of contest, a trend synonymous with Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Not seen post 1980.

The politics and the political rivals made 2014 parliamentary election a presidential style contest again, with Narendra Modi being the central point of the election. It only added to the phenomenon called Modi Wave with BJP sweeping the polls with full majority, a first in India post 1984 parliamentary election.

And in 2019, Narendra Modi has excelled, if exit poll outcomes are true, winning again with better numbers, and if we go by some exit poll outcomes, with absolute majority. The presidential style contest of India’s parliamentary elections is back, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi way.

The Narendra Modi wave, it seems, is bigger this time, in the Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi and others fight.  

Narendra Modi is the second non-Congress prime-minister to come back in power after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but the first to come back in power with full majority. The governments run by Atal Bihari Vajpayee needed support from other parties to get past the full majority mark of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha.

It will be the biggest political swing post 1980. Narendra Modi has repeated the Congress feat of forming government in two subsequent polls, in 1980 and 1984, with full majority.  

Narendra Modi gave hope to people in 2014 and aspirations in 2019, and voters, it seems, have believed him again.    

Modi’s look east policy worked. BJP makes strong inroads in West Bengal and Odisha, replacing Left Front and Congress as parallel political forces, while retaining its strongholds in north and west India.   

But the party has not gained much in south India with Karnataka being the only bright spot. No gains in Kerala despite BJP using Sabarimala controversy as election issue. Kerala saw massive protests against the Supreme Court order and its implementation by the state government allowing entry of women of all ages in the Sabarimala Temple. BJP opposed the entry of women of all ages in the Sabarimala Temple and used it as an electoral issue.

No Narendra Modi wave in Punjab and south India. 2014 repeats itself in 2019.

Balakot air strike and Pakistan mattered. Nationalism trumped other electoral issues.   

That India’s foreign policy and a decisive stand towards Pakistan mattered to voters.

The exit poll outcomes are divided on Uttar Pradesh. According to some, BJP is way ahead but some give edge to the SP-BSP-RLD alliance as well.

If BJP wins with good numbers in Uttar Pradesh, it will be a clear indication that the caste politics was trumped by Modi Wave.  

Alternatively, we can say SP and BSP failed to make their alliance working on the ground and the votes were not transferred effectively, helping thus BJP in the final outcome.  

That voters don’t want a hung parliament anymore, be is assembly elections like in Uttar Pradesh or the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and now in 2019.   

That the political Opposition remains weak, a bad sign for democracy.

With weakening of politically strong regional satraps, like Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik, Centre will be powerful against state government in the federal structure of India.  

That people believed in BJP’s manifestation of continuity and not in congress manifestation of hope (NYAY).

The NDA government focused on last mile delivery and gas connections, toilets, MUDRA loans and money to farmers reached to intended beneficiaries, something that matters in elections.

That Narendra Modi remains a non-corrupt political figure with no takers for the Rafale controversy.

Congress and its allies are expected to gain in south India.

Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi prospects to Wayanad gain? 

Left Front pole almost non-existent in India’s political scene.  

No disruptive change, good for markets and foreign investors.

©SantoshChaubey 

Monday, 6 May 2019

NUMBERS SAY AMETHI IS A TOUGH BATTLE FOR RAHUL GANDHI THIS TIME


Let’s not go into what various pre-poll surveys say. Let’s see what electoral numbers in Amethi say how difficult a contest it may be for Rahul Gandhi this time.

And the previous electoral numbers say it is going to be a tough electoral battle for Rahul in Amethi time.

Amethi constituency, created in 1967, has been a Congress bastion. It was ruled by non-Congress parties only twice, and that too only for four years. First, it was post Emergency in 1977, when a Janata Party candidate had won and remained its representative in Lok Sabha till 1980.

Then party hopper and Amethi prince Sanjay Sinh won on a BJP ticket in 1998. But being a prince was no guarantee for ground connect in Amethi with its Nehru-Gandhi connect.  

Sanjay Sinh was lucky that he became Lok Sabha MP from Amethi when Congress was going through a tough phase with no Gandhi leader at the top. Sonia Gandhi who had earlier refused to enter politics had only recently joined Congress and Sanjay Sinh had a chance.

But when Sonia decided to contest from Amethi in 1999, history was going to repeat itself, as it had done in the past.  Sinh who had earlier seen a massive defeat against Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, had a massive electoral loss from a Gandhi, once again. Sonia Gandhi won over by 300,000 votes, with a victory margin of 48%.

When Rahul decided to join politics, Amethi was chosen as his constituency and Sonia Gandhi shifted to Rae Bareli, another Nehru-Gandhi electoral bastion in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul won his first Lok Sabha election from Amethi handsomely, with a winning margin of 49% and went on to amplify his victory margin in 2009 by 8%.

1999 Amethi Lok Sabha Election
·         Sonia Gandhi - Congress - 418960 votes
·         Dr. Sanjay Sinh - BJP - 118948 votes
·         Margin - 300012 - 48.07% of total valid votes

2004 Amethi Lok Sabha Election
·         Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 390179 votes
·         Chandra Prakash Mishra - BSP - 99326 votes
·         Margin - 290853 - 49.33% of total valid votes

2009 Amethi Lok Sabha Election
·         Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 464195 votes
·         Asheesh Shukla - BSP - 93997 votes
·         Margin - 370198 - 57.25% of total valid votes

But the last Lok Sabha election in Amethi in 2014 saw a drastic reduction in Rahul’s winning margin. His victory margin of 57.25% votes in 2009 reduced to 12.36% in 2014. Obviously it was due to many factors – the Narendra Modi wave, anti-incumbency against 10 years of the United Progressive Alliance government led by Congress and a strong BJP leader like Smriti Irani as his political opponent in the constituency.

2014 AMETHI LOK SABHA ELECTION
·         Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 408651 votes
·         Smriti Irani - BJP - 300748 votes
·         Margin - 107903 - 12.36% of total valid votes

Also, while Rahul might increase his winning tally in Amethi in 2009, it was during Rahul representation only that the Nehru-Gandhi grip on Amethi had started deteriorating somewhere, as add-on election numbers say.

In 2007 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, Congress had won three out of five assembly constituencies in the Amethi parliamentary constituency. In 2012, the winning number came down to two while in the most recent assembly polls in 2017, the grand old party of India failed to win any seat.


2017
2012
2007
Tiloi
BJP
Congress
SP
Salon
BJP
SP
Congress
Jagdishpur  
BJP
Congress
Congress
Gauriganj
SP
SP
BSP
Amethi
BJP
SP
Congress

Electoral history of Amethi parliamentary constituency says number of assembly constituencies end up randomly in choosing their representatives irrespective of Congress representing the Lok Sabha constituency but the differentiator here is the Congress position in assembly constituencies.

In 2007 and 2012 assembly elections, Congress was either winner or runner-up in Amethi assembly constituencies but in 2017, it was pushed to 3rd and 4th spot in two seats.

Congress position in Amethi assembly constituencies


2017
2012
2007
Tiloi
3
1
2
Salon
2
2
1
Jagdishpur
2
1
1
Gauriganj
2
2
2
Amethi
4
2
1   

With these numbers in backdrop, Rahul is contesting again from Amethi that is voting today. And Smriti Irani is again his political rival. And she looks like a formidable rival this time as she has maintained a regular connect with Amethi in the last five years. She keeps on visiting the constituency and claims to have bring down many development works to there.

Also why Rahul Gandhi chose Wayanad in Kerala as the second parliamentary constituency to contest only adds to the prospects of Rahul’s chances in Amethi. BJP leaders say Rahul is not confident of a positive result in Amethi and that why he has chosen Wayanad, a minority dominated Lok Sabha constituency.

©SantoshChaubey 

Friday, 3 May 2019

BURQA BAN


After Sri Lanka banned burqa following a series of deadly blasts killing 253, the issue has become a debatable topic the world over including India. Here, a political party Shiv Sena has raised the demand.

Globally, burqa has been banned in many countries. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) endorsed burqa ban in December 2015. ECOWAS has 15 countries as its members. These countries have 181 Muslims. It was after terror attacks by terrorists clad in burqa that they took the step.

One of the clear outcome of the December meeting was on clothes that prevents identification of a person. Terror groups including Boko Haram active in that part are using female terrorists clad in burqa for suicide attacks and carrying bombs.

Burqa or niqab are different types of face covering veils worn with a robe like loose fitting dress. Burqa covers the whole face while eyes are uncovered in niqab. Burqas cover a woman’s body from head to toe.

Even if Burqa is not a religious demand of Islam, it is related to traditional values, cultural practices and thus sentimental beliefs. The countries of ECOWAS where burqa has been banned, wearing burqa was not a cultural phenomenon and so had no sentimental quotient to raise protests against it, and so they could ban it without protests.

Unlike Nigeria, an ECOWAS member, where burqa is part of tradition and culture and thus is a matter of wide sentimental belief. According to Pew Research Centre, Christianity and Islam are dominant religions here, Christians at 49.3% and Muslims at 48.8%. So, even if Christians are slightly more than Muslims, Nigeria cannot ban burqa, even though terrorists may use it in suicide attacks, because of its traditional and cultural value in the Muslim society.

How Western African countries are facing this problem can be gauged the by the statement of Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria and a Muslim. He says even a hijab may be banned if terrorists keep using burqa. Hijab covers only head and chest and face is uncovered.

Many European countries have banned burqa due to security even if they haven’t faced any attack by a burqa-clad person. All of them are democratic countries with very small Muslim population. Before banning burqa or face veil, they also decided on religious factors, gender issues and individual choices on wearing burqa. Some of them did it because they wanted social cohesion, cultural assimilation and integration in the country, like integration was a big issue in Germany after Muslim immigration from Middle-East. But security as a major issue was attached in most of these countries.

So, what should be done in India where burqa is a traditional concept with cultural and sentimental value?

Sri Lanka
Nationwide
April 2019
After deadly explosions killing 253
Denmark
Banned burqas and niqabs, nationwide
Public spaces
Saw protests
August 2018
Security
The Netherlands
Nationwide
Schools, hospitals, public transport and government buildings
June 2018
Security
Austria
Nationwide
Public spaces
October 2017
Security
Tajikistan
Nationwide
Public spaces 
97% Muslims
September 2017
Banned hijab – to stop women for wearing Islamic attire
Morocco
Nationwide
99% Muslims
January 2017
Security
Bandits use the garment
Bulgaria
Nationwide
Public spaces
September 2016
Security
Germany
Partial
Public spaces
December 2016
Integration
Switzerland
Partial 
July 2016
 security
Gabon
Nationwide
September 2016
Security – after Cameroon blast
Cameroon
Partial ban
Muslims – 25% - in majority in region where burqa was banned
No public opposition
July 2015
Blast by two burqa clad women killing 13
Chad
Nationwide
The country’s president called in camouflage
Muslims – 53%
No public opposition 
June 2015
Boko Haram killed  34 people in capital N’Djamena – by a man clad in burqa
Niger
Partial ban
Muslims – 80%
No public opposition

Southern region affected by Boko Haram – Boko Haram uses female terrorists to carry bombs
Republic of congo
By the president of the country’s Islamic high council
May 2015
Security
Turkey
Till 2013, banned hijabs in state institutions

Ban in judiciary, military and police
France
Nationwide
Public places
Not much protests from Muslims
April 2011
Social cohesion and security
Belgium
Nationwide
Public places
July 2011
Secular society - principles of living together
Protection of rights and freedoms of others
Latvia
Nationwide
April 2016
To protect Latvia’s cultural values
Italy
City of Novara fined a woman for wearing burqa 
Region Lombardy banned burqas and niqabs from public offices and hospitals in 2015
1975
Cannot cover the face

Spain
Partial - Catalonia bans burqas and niqabs in public spaces
July 2014
Security, integration and co-existence 
Russia
Hijabs banned in Stavropol and
Mordovia territories
Schools and universities


Secular nature of education
China
Xinjiang – a Muslim province
burqa and abnormal beards
March 2017
Growing extremism
Malaysia
Niqabs banned for public servants


Syria
Banned burqas and niqabs in universities
July 2010
Increasing Islamic extremism among Muslim students
Kosovo
Hijabs banned in schools
95% Muslims
September 2011
Secular state
Azerbaijan
Hijab banned in schools
97% Muslims
December 2010
To prevent rise of radical Islam

©SantoshChaubey