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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

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

Why free speech is losing in India

With no clear lines drawn between free and unlawful speech, there is a growing sense of unease at speaking out fearlessly

The spread of unregulated social media hasn’t helped matters either. Meant to democratise public opinion, the reality is of a shrinking universe for any rational dialogue (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jul 28, 2022 08:30 PM IST

Will it be a Modi hat-trick in 2024?

While the BJP is making the right moves and has its eyes set on the South, the Opposition has failed to develop a counter-narrative or leadership model. This is making the BJP’s route to absolute power easier

Not just a geographical expansion, the BJP is deepening its social base, too: The presidential nomination of Droupadi Murmu is part of this conscious strategy to strengthen a pro-poor OBC-SC-ST alliance (ANI/ PIB)
Updated on Jul 14, 2022 08:24 PM IST

BJP looks to capture Sena’s political space

Maharashtra’s 2022 coup is a retaliation for the betrayal of 2019. Eknath Shinde may be the new CM but the real power will be with the BJP

Uddhav Thackeray submits his resignation to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Mumbai, June 30, 2022 (/NI)
Updated on Jun 30, 2022 08:28 PM IST

What ails the Indian TV media industry

Polarised debates have replaced traditional news-gathering, with the Left and Right accusing the TV news media of bias. And the elephant in the room is the growing influence of social media in shaping the public discourse and TV news

Talking heads TV isn’t just an Indian phenomenon; globally, investments in traditional news-gathering have declined (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 16, 2022 09:03 PM IST

Why India’s federal compact is eroding

Conflict between the Centre and some states is growing and now spans revenue-sharing formula and the implementation of NEET. The idea of cooperative federalism is unfortunately tangled in competitive and self-destructive politics

A robust multi-party democracy such as India cannot be diminished to a single party, a single leader elected autocracy, where crucial decision-making is devoid of consultative processes. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jun 02, 2022 09:27 PM IST

The Congress must save itself, first

The Congress’s ad-hoc leadership style has left the party in a state of perpetual inertia. The Udaipur Declaration recognises the urgent need for a revamp. To achieve that, the party needs to make some tough calls

Can the Congress afford an incrementalist approach, especially when facing an existential crisis? Perhaps the most candid acknowledgement of the party’s dilemma came from Rahul Gandhi when he admitted that the party’s connection with the people was broken. (ANI)
Updated on May 19, 2022 07:16 PM IST

The neta-police nexus must be dismantled

Every regime has seen police partisanship backed by executive overreach, with little regard for due process. Break this chain, now

Could an Opposition MLA such as Mevani have suddenly been picked up at midnight from Gujarat by the Assam Police and brought to Kokrajhar without the knowledge of the CM or law enforcement authorities? (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
Published on May 05, 2022 07:23 PM IST

What the communal flare-ups manifest

A deliberate attempt is being made to find polarising issues aimed at othering Muslims — hijab, halal meat, azaan, the list is growing

The aggressive celebrations of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti are meant to send out an unambiguous message that Hindu cultural revivalism is now an unstoppable force (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 21, 2022 05:58 PM IST

Why two nations bowled out two prominent netas

While Khan and Sidhu are not too similar, what they share is the failure to recognise the limits of personality-driven politics replacing institutional cohesion in democratic set-ups

In a sense, both Khan and Sidhu are alumni of the Donald Trump school of disruptionist politics, larger-than-life figures whose commitment to the self is often greater than their loyalty to an organisation. 
Published on Apr 07, 2022 07:54 PM IST

The Kashmir Files: A tragedy retold

While the film might be therapeutic for Pandits, it does not provide any perspective on critical issues such as Delhi-Srinagar intrigue, rigged polls, State brutalities, and demands for greater autonomy and azaadi

A man walks past a poster
Updated on Mar 24, 2022 07:22 PM IST

How the BJP rewrote the rules of politics in UP

The party expanded its social base, pushed welfarism, and targeted the SP’s and Congress’s dynastic culture. The BJP’s rise, however, would not have been as striking without the presence of Modi as messenger-in-chief

Despite a governance deficit, the BJP was able to create a ‘pro-incumbency’ momentum because the Modi factor often overrides all else. The emotional connect that the PM has fostered, especially in UP, transcends a ‘normal’ voter-neta equation (AFP)
Updated on Mar 12, 2022 08:23 AM IST

In UP polls, the BJP has a clear edge

The lack of Opposition options, astute social engineering, welfare outreach, tight media management and the enduring appeal of Hindutva are likely to help the BJP in the crucial state

Bharatiya Janata Party supporters during a public meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kaushambi, February 23 (ANI)
Updated on Feb 24, 2022 07:35 PM IST

What Lata-di meant to the subcontinent

No one has comforted and unified so many millions like the melodious voice of Lata Mangeshkar, cutting across barriers of caste, community, region, even nationality

Lata Mangeshkar’s genius was matched by a complete dedication to the craft. Not a word or a sur (melody) out of place, she is a reminder of the virtue of devotion to the arts as a life-long mission (Vijayanand gupta/ht photo)
Updated on Feb 10, 2022 05:55 PM IST
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