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

A post-dated Bill of rights ahead of polls

Nari shakti sloganeering across the political spectrum over the women’s quota is hollow posturing, and a cynical attempt to woo the woman voter

Will the carrot of women’s reservations transform a patriarchal political milieu?(HT Archive)
Published on Sep 21, 2023 10:23 PM IST

Why is govt backing simultaneous polls?

The idea can help paper over the BJP’s weakness in some state polls. But a genuine democratic ethos cannot be cultivated by a single fanciful idea

Simultaneous elections were the norm until 1967, but the premature dissolution of some state assemblies in 1968 and 1969 and advancement of parliamentary polls to 1971 in the wake of the split in the Congress, disturbed the harmony. (Representational photo)
Published on Sep 07, 2023 10:12 PM IST

Can BJP’s 3-pronged attack win in 2024?

PM Modi hinted dynastic politics, corruption and appeasement will be his 3 weapons for 2024. But after nine years, will they work as well as they did in 2014?

 In 2014, Modi was the archetypal outsider (ANI)
Published on Aug 24, 2023 09:33 PM IST

Ten lessons from no-confidence motion debate

The motion sounded the bugle for the 2024 general elections. It showed us that the Opposition needs to up its game to match the government’s narrative

 This no-confidence motion was never about the numbers but a more intangible perception war(ANI)
Updated on Aug 11, 2023 11:21 PM IST

End the whataboutery around Manipur crisis

A viral video has sparked a political war; parallels are being drawn with other states. But Manipur needs accountability instead

The Manipur Students’ Union at a protest against the ongoing violence, in Imphal. (ANI)
Published on Jul 27, 2023 09:54 PM IST

In Maharashtra battle, Pawar is down but not out, yet

The crisis faced by Pawar is a consequence of the larger political dynamics. The 2024 polls will offer one final opportunity to reclaim his position

For a while, his Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP’s) core dilemma has been — After Pawar, who?(ANI)
Published on Jul 14, 2023 09:39 PM IST

Manipur requires an urgent healing touch

The violence-hit state needs a genuine attempt at reconciling differences on the ground

Targeted violence, of the kind seen in Manipur, is not new in India ani(ANI)
Published on Jun 29, 2023 06:37 PM IST

Country above IPL: What BCCI must do to help Indian cricket

After the WTC loss, India need a long-term vision. And as guardians of the sport, BCCI needs to be accountable to the final stakeholder: the fans

Virat Kohli reacts after being dismissed by Australia's Scott Boland in the WTC Final(AP)
Published on Jun 16, 2023 11:42 AM IST

Break the silence on the wrestlers’ protest

Since 2010, India’s women athletes are shining across sports. But on-field triumphs demand greater respect off it

The protesting wrestlers need to be applauded and not demonised (Jitender Gupta)
Updated on Jun 01, 2023 07:00 PM IST

The K’taka verdict can worry the BJP

The results showed that a one-size-fits-all plan that doesn’t address local sensitivities is likely to flounder in states with robust cultural identities

PM Modi-led BJP remains a favourite to win in a national election but the aayega to Modi hi swagger may need dialling down (PTI)
Updated on May 18, 2023 09:42 PM IST

Will the double-engine rhetoric work in Karnataka?

BJP’s strategy will have to overcome allegations of corruption and anti-incumbency. The import of a double-engine promise will have ramifications

The Modi personality cult which is at the heart of the double-engine outreach is, in one sense, a double-edged sword. While it gives the BJP a clear edge in a presidential style national election, it also exposes the limitations of a political model which is focused on a single individual.
Published on May 04, 2023 07:36 PM IST

Decoding UP’s nexus of crime and politics

The killing of Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf put the spotlight on the intersection of caste, community and politics in UP. Tackle the roots of the problem

While Atiq Ahmad’s killing may yield political dividends in UP’s communally surcharged milieu, it has dangerously short-circuited the criminal justice system. (File Photo)
Published on Apr 20, 2023 06:44 PM IST

Who will take on Modi in the 2024 elections?

Will the Opposition script a clear vision that counters the PM’s narrative? Or will a single leader emerge to take on BJP’s juggernaut?

So skewed is the balance of power in favour of the ruling party that a challenge to a larger-than-life figure such as PM Modi appears almost impossible. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 06, 2023 07:23 PM IST

The controversy roiling Parliament is contrived

The insistence of BJP leaders that Rahul Gandhi must apologise for questioning India on foreign soil brings back memories of Indira Gandhi’s ‘foreign hand’ conspiracy theory during the Emergency. This reflects poorly on India as it aims to be a vishwaguru

The controversy helps deflect attention from any embarrassment the Modi government may face and reopens cleavages within the Opposition because not all are enamoured with Rahul Gandhi’s whimsical leadership style. (PTI)
Published on Mar 23, 2023 08:00 PM IST

Indian cricket faces a moment of truth

The row over doctored pitches suggests an attempt to subvert the true spirit of the game by playing fast and loose with the conditions. And be it in cricket or politics, a lesson to learn is not to sacrifice the means at the altar of the ends

When a doctored pitch reduces a game of skill to a virtual lottery, then the essence of sport as an expression of finer human values is lost. (AP)
Updated on Mar 09, 2023 07:58 PM IST

Why the BJP is reaching out to Christians in the Northeast

Its strategy has been of stark dualism: Pursue hardline Hindutva in the heartland and adjust to local sensitivities in the periphery. Therefore, its Christian push in N-E hints that it hopes to be seen as an inclusive force.

Christians are a small community — around 28 million and 2.3% of the population as per the 2011 census — and, therefore, relatively politically insignificant and perceived as less of a threat to a dominant majority. (ANI)
Updated on Feb 23, 2023 07:01 PM IST

Adani row may have limited political impact

VP Singh successfully used the Bofors scam to corner Rajiv Gandhi. However, to topple Modi’s popularity, Rahul Gandhi can’t just throw a few punches. He will need a knockout blow

For a large section of the Indian middle-class, Adani’s ascent is a symbol of a new, aspirational India. Recall how, weeks ago, Adani’s emergence as the world’s third-richest person was greeted with a sense of euphoria. (AFP)
Updated on Feb 10, 2023 09:08 AM IST

A new war of narratives in India’s political arena

Narendra Modi is seen as an astute world figure and mass leader. Rahul Gandhi is projecting himself as an ascetic on a mission. This contrast may inject a new dimension in politics.

The vishwaguru storyline is likely to gather greater momentum ahead of the September heads of State G20 summit where Modi will occupy centre stage and the pomp and pageantry of the Indian State will be in full gaze (PTI)
Updated on Jan 27, 2023 12:52 AM IST

Governors must act as neutral umpires

The tussle between the L-G and the CM in Delhi is part of a pattern of confrontation between elected governments and Raj Bhavans. To fix this, respect the separation of powers as spelt out in the Constitution

The most recent example of the stand-off in Delhi between L-G VK Saxena and CM Arvind Kejriwal is the battle over a key mayoral election (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jan 12, 2023 08:04 PM IST

As we bid goodbye to 2022, a prayer for India

Where Parliament sessions are not consigned to being a mere ritual, where the Opposition doesn’t disrupt, and the government doesn’t dictate, but both sides learn to talk to rather than at each other

I dream of an India where we don’t impose our beliefs, where saffron can be pious and beautiful at the same time (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 29, 2022 08:31 PM IST

The Morocco miracle in a World Cup of migrants

Football has embraced true multiculturalism as is evident across nations. Morocco’s triumph is a hallmark of this embrace

The most striking feature of the Moroccan success story is the fact that 14 of their 26-member squad were born outside Morocco, a majority of them from migrant communities in Europe and beyond. (Reuters)
Published on Dec 15, 2022 08:10 PM IST

An unusual third factor in Gujarat’s poll battle

Fuelled by an Opposition vacuum, the AAP’s gambit in the state is to emerge as a challenger, not just to the Congress in the Opposition space, but to the BJP as an option for voters seeking change

By at least showing the intent to fight, the AAP has done what the Congress often failed to do in Gujarat in recent times: Look the BJP in the eye. (Twitter)
Published on Dec 01, 2022 07:32 PM IST

How Gujarat became synonymous with Modi

Modi’s embodiment of Gujarati asmita since his first shot at power in the state has dwarfed all else, forming two conflicting narratives, old and new, with the victories and tragedies that define them

The political strategy is obvious: Create an emotional connect between PM Narendra Modi’s leadership and the Gujarati voter to the point where the interests of the two are indistinguishable. (Siddharaj Solanki/HT Photo)
Published on Nov 17, 2022 07:13 PM IST

A deficit of governance, morality in polity today

Several issues today are a pointer to a deeper moral and political crisis that engulfs our democratic set-up.

The Dera chief, convicted of rape and murder, is out on parole for 40 days, the timing of his release conveniently tied in with a Haryana by-election and Himachal assembly polls, two states where the Dera has a considerable following. (HT File Photo)
Published on Nov 03, 2022 07:33 PM IST

Congress must address the elephant in the room

Kharge may be at the helm, but Rahul Gandhi’s role — of wielding power without responsibility — must be acknowledged. This will help bring in structural changes that can revive its fortunes

Kharge as president is at best a stop-gap arrangement, but not the answer to the Congress’s existential crisis. Eventually, it is for Rahul Gandhi to decide: Is he the de facto leader of the Congress or is he a radical political activist? (PTI)
Published on Oct 20, 2022 07:45 PM IST

The contrasting styles of leadership in BJP and Congress

The internal politics of the BJP may be tightly controlled, but it conveys an impression of change. Such coherence is absent in the Congress, as was seen in the recent chaos over its presidential poll

In the Narendra Modi- Amit Shah era, the BJP has pushed through changes with military style regimentation. 
Published on Oct 06, 2022 06:38 PM IST

The ‘Gujarat factor’ in the development project

The Vedanta-Foxconn deal has sparked claims of favouritism, reviving old rivalries. In the spirit of federalism and fair competition, the Centre should nurture a level playing field for all states

Yuva Sena protest against the shifting of Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor manufacturing project from Maharashtra to Gujarat. (States should compete for investment based on objective economic factors. ANI)
Published on Sep 22, 2022 07:01 PM IST

A way out of Congress’s gravest existential crisis

As the Bharat Jodo Yatra takes off, the Congress has to focus sharply on messaging, leadership, and, most critically, its mass connect. Only then can it take on the BJP

In the next few weeks, the Congress must decide: Is the Bharat Jodo Yatra about redefining its message or relaunching its star messenger? (ANI)
Updated on Sep 08, 2022 08:22 PM IST

The silence in the Bilkis Bano case is deafening

From political leadership and the media to citizens, the release of the gang rapists and murderers in this case has not shaken our collective conscience

The contrasting responses to the 2012 tragedy and Bilkis’s quest for justice reveal just how much State and civil society have been transformed. (HT Photo)
Published on Aug 26, 2022 10:02 AM IST

What Nitish’s move says about Modi-Shah’s BJP

His predicament was a consequence of a distinct power shift in the BJP of Modi-Shah, compared to the Advani-Vajpayee era, where alliances with once powerful regional satraps are becoming almost inconsequential

The choices before these leaders are stark: Either quietly accept the authority of the BJP (MS) leadership or risk isolation and be hostage to the coercive powers of the central agencies. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
Published on Aug 11, 2022 08:35 PM IST
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