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Rahul Verma
Articles by Rahul Verma

No wave in sight, big surprises are unlikely in the offing

State-level and local factors may acquire more salience in the 2024 polls in comparison to the two previous elections

Gaya, Bihar, India -Apri .19, 2024: Voters in queue for casting their votes at a polling booth during Lok Sabha election in Gaya, Bihar, India, Friday,19, 2024. (HT Photo)
Published on Apr 19, 2024 11:52 PM IST

How the BSP ceased to be the force it once was in UP

Can the BSP revive after another loss? The short answer is “unlikely”.

Why does it seem like the BSP is not in contention in the battle for UP’s 80 Lok Sabha seats? (HT file)
Published on Apr 12, 2024 10:53 PM IST

Why Congress failed to win in the Hindi heartland

Poor strategy derived from misreading its electoral losses and successes limited the party’s chances in a direct fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party

BJP and Congress celebrate respective victories in assembly elections.(ANI/PTI)
Published on Dec 04, 2023 10:15 PM IST

In Rajasthan, a battle of two parties, two leaders

The key question for the future of Rajasthan politics is if the two constants, the BJP and the Congress, are going to change on December 3.

Can Gehlot’s efforts to reach out to a wider section of society through a large bouquet of welfare schemes turn things around for the Congress? (ANI)
Updated on Nov 25, 2023 04:40 AM IST

A bipolar polity or a dominant party state?

Are we likely to see a close contest between the BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh again?

Congress leader Kamal Nath and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Published on Nov 16, 2023 10:50 PM IST

3 key hurdles will define Rahul’s future in politics

Rahul Gandhi's return to Parliament and his upcoming challenges in defining his role and leading the Opposition against the BJP government.

The first challenge is to define Gandhi’s role in the Congress. (ANI)
Published on Aug 11, 2023 07:58 AM IST

What alliance politics means for 2024 polls

Two big alliances are squaring off in 2024 polls. But the two groups' dynamics are very different, and it will impact their functioning and electoral prospects

The dominance of the BJP has ensured that there is space for only two nodes in Indian politics. (HT Photo)
Published on Jul 20, 2023 10:19 PM IST

A SWOT analysis of Oppn prospects

A meeting of Opposition parties in Patna was a good start. But to put up a credible challenge to the BJP, the alliance must study its strengths and weaknesses

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and others attend the Opposition leaders' meeting regarding a joint strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, in Patna on Friday. (ANI)
Published on Jun 26, 2023 10:14 AM IST

Regional parties are in a generational churn

The changes in the NCP are the latest in a generational transition for India’s family-run regional parties, which will have a key impact on the 2024 polls

By appointing daughter Supriya Sule as the NCP’s working president, Sharad Pawar made it clear who’ll take over the mantle of the party.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jun 14, 2023 08:47 PM IST

Win sketches contours of future election plans

The victory has offered pathways for the party to think about its revival plans; it has, in no way, reversed the course of its declining fortunes.

What explains the consolidation of the bottom half of society — in caste and class terms — behind the Congress? (Reuters File Photo)
Published on May 13, 2023 10:59 PM IST

For 2024, parties must focus on young voters

Parties and analysts should focus on how different demographic segments vote, and the new social fault lines that could emerge defining the 2024 campaign

The BJP and the Opposition will have to tailor their messaging to the most crucial demographic in the 2024 elections — voters between 18 and 25 years, who will make up a 175-million strong population. (HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 03, 2023 07:37 PM IST

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
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