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 manifesto for India at 75

Let us create an India which is more equal, harmonious, democratic and just, an India where opaque governments do not try and hide Covid deaths, where data is not falsified to create a fake perception that “all is well”

Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police personnel during the dress rehearsal of Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort in New Delhi. (PTI)
Updated on Aug 12, 2021 05:15 PM IST

The politics and ethics of surveillance

There can be no rationalisation for hacking. But the government seems to believe it can ride out the storm

This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features Pegasus spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021. (AFP)
Updated on Jul 29, 2021 06:48 PM IST

Ten questions for the government

The monsoon session must be an occasion to hold the government accountable and seek answers about its Covid-19 strategy

A view of the Parliament House. (HT Archive)
Updated on Jul 19, 2021 06:56 AM IST

The Cabinet reshuffle marks a break from the past

The pandemic, politics, perception and the PM’s preferred working mode have shaped the composition of the new team

President Ram Nath Kovind, First Lady Savita Kovind, ice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in a group photograph with the newly sworn-in Council of Ministers, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (PTI)
Updated on Jul 08, 2021 03:52 PM IST

The possibilities, and limits, of a third front

Its architects will have to deal with internal contradictions, the role of Congress, and the question of leadership

Poll strategist and political consultant Prashant Kishor and Supriya Sule leave NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence after meeting him, in Mumbai early June. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 01, 2021 04:01 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi must choose his political path

He can either form his own party, based on his own ideals, and wage a long struggle against the RSS-BJP — or he can engage in the ruthless pursuit of power

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (PTI)
Updated on Jun 17, 2021 02:50 PM IST

The frayed federal compact

The onus rests on the Centre to genuinely reach out to states, accept differences, and work with alternative power structures

A view of a flooded locality in Lakshadweep following Cyclone Ockhi in 2017. (PTI File)
Updated on Jun 03, 2021 04:28 PM IST

For PM Modi, the seven-year itch

Seven years into their terms as PM, Nehru, Indira and Manmohan Singh faced political setbacks. It is now Modi’s moment of truth

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo)
Updated on May 25, 2021 12:14 PM IST

A political and policy blow to the Centre

The management of Covid-19 has generated questions about the PM’s governance. The Bengal defeat has weakened the home minister’s image as an election winner

Representational Image. (HT archive)
Updated on May 06, 2021 06:06 PM IST

Covid-19: The buck stops at the top

If the Centre is quick to take credit for anything positive, then it must accept its share of blame for missteps and be held accountable

Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) participate in an election rally ahead of during the West Bengal assembly elections in Kolkata. (AP)
Updated on Apr 22, 2021 05:44 PM IST

Covid to polls: The chaos that is India

As Covid-19 cases surge, and economic distress persists, politics is marked by institutional discord and communalism

In television studios, we are told that a V-shaped recovery is on its way, but, on the ground, as one travels from Kerala to Assam, the one unifying factor is visible economic distress, especially among those in the unorganised sector. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Published on Apr 08, 2021 06:22 PM IST

In Maharashtra, khakhi and khadi in the dock

The state’s worst-kept secret is out. A thorough inquiry, exemplary punishment for the guilty, and deeper police reforms, are essential

To protect the trustworthy police officer and yes, the upright politician too, the chain of fraudulence must be broken (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 25, 2021 08:25 PM IST

The hypocrisy of India’s secular polity

The centrist secular space that rejects religion as a marker of political identity is being hollowed out

With mainstream secularism facing a credibility crisis, those who have suffered the most are Muslims. They appear to be looking for alternatives that go beyond clichéd and bogus definitions of secularism. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 11, 2021 05:48 PM IST

The BJP’s ruthless expansion drive

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.

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)
Updated on Feb 26, 2021 06:30 AM IST

Why Indian celebrities bend to State power

The fear of retribution by State and non-State actors, even as commercial stakes are high, tilts the balance

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)
Updated on Feb 12, 2021 06:41 AM IST

What went wrong on Republic Day?

Farm leaders overestimated their ability to control a large and diverse group, while Delhi Police underestimated the scale of the rally

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)
Updated on Jan 29, 2021 04:50 AM IST

The anti-corporate texture of farm protests

It is symbolic of a wider discontent against emerging market monopolies and fears of this being replicated in the agricultural sector

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)
Updated on Jan 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST

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

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.

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)
Updated on Jan 01, 2021 06:01 AM IST

The Anna and kisan movements, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

The Anna movement had the support of the media and middle-class and a clear enemy. The farm protests lack all three elements

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)
Published on Dec 17, 2020 09:34 PM IST

The limits of the Centre’s unilateralism

The protests symbolise citizen response to executive overreach. Farmers are politically too important to be brushed aside

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)
Published on Dec 03, 2020 09:37 PM IST

On liberty, the lack of judicial consistency

Decisions appear to be influenced by the status of the individual and the partisan political climate

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)
Updated on Nov 20, 2020 06:36 AM IST

Why pollsters got the US wrong, again

An echo chamber bias ignored Donald Trump’s appeal in a divided states of America

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)
Updated on Nov 05, 2020 10:59 PM IST

The BJP’s high-risk strategy in Bihar

It wants the LJP to chip away at Nitish Kumar’s image while keeping him dependent on the BJP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during an election rally, Bhagalpur, Bihar, April 11, 2019.(Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 23, 2020 11:41 PM IST

How Hathras can hurt the BJP in UP

In its recent electoral supremacy, Dalit support has been a key factor, especially in the state

Being accused of Thakurvaad, a key charge Yogi Adityanath is now confronting, is suicidal in UP’s complex caste matrix(ANI)
Updated on Oct 09, 2020 05:58 AM IST

Communalism: The other virus in India | Opinion

Hate is an infection that is contagious when it is normalised as has happened in recent years

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)
Updated on Sep 25, 2020 05:43 AM IST

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

Key actors — political parties, media, viewers, investigative agencies — have failed in their duty

The viewers who lampoon TV news have much to answer for, for they are taking voyeristic delight in salacious gossip(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 11, 2020 08:23 AM IST

The myth of inner party democracy

The Congress controversy is a reminder that Indian parties are family fiefdoms or autocracies

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)
Updated on Aug 27, 2020 08:13 PM IST

From Ayodhya to Mumbai and back | Opinion

In 2020, go back to the riots and violence of 1992-93. There has been no closure, no justice

The law has failed to take its course. A majority of the 2000-odd cases related to the riots have been closed(Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 13, 2020 06:49 PM IST

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

The party is willing to use all instruments for absolute dominance, becoming another Congress in the process

A growing number of the BJP “conquests” are actually of former Congresspersons who have gone with the saffron wind.(AFP)
Updated on Jul 30, 2020 07:29 PM IST

The tale of Rajesh and Sachin Pilot, writes Rajdeep Sardesai

In the divergent stories of the father and the son, the common theme is ambition and rebellion

Sachin was, in a sense, the last survivor, and now, he too is gone — further evidence that the old guard has reasserted itself(PTI)
Updated on Jul 17, 2020 06:14 AM IST
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