I take the liberty here of drawing a parallel between the reel and real -- not connected in any practical way and as physically far from each other as can be. Both, however, involve cameras, champion sheer insensitivity and are driven by an insatiable desire to shock the viewer. I am referring to the Anurag Kashyap flick 'Ugly' and filming of the Air Asia flight QZ8501 search operations. And yes, both involve dead bodies.
Its not that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has any axe to grind with BL Joshi, MK Narayanan, Margaret Alva or even for that matter Sheila Dikshit. Neither do these senior citizens pose any clear and present danger to Modi or his government. It's just that the new prime minister and his machinery needs to create jobs for the many other senior citizens who have accompanied him in his journey to the top. They are gray, old, mostly deserving and naturally hungry for a slice of power-pie even if it is sugarless (read no cabinet posting).
The Badaun gangrape and murder has made one thing very clear: Akhilesh Yadav is not the person who can save the Samajwadi Party from a rout in the next assembly election. With an arrogance which has become a special reserve for next-generation 'babalogs' of political clans, Yadav has missed the UP story by miles and is racing towards political harakiri.
There was speculation on Saturday that dissidence has erupted within the Janata Dal (United) and that a senior minister of Nitish Kumars cabinet has met BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claiming the support of 40 MLAs. It sat well with Nitish Kumars sudden resignation yet not recommending dissolution of the state assembly.
Going by post-poll surveys and exit polls, it looks like the three chief ministers of Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh have delivered. While much is being speculated about the political futures of LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and even Rajnath Singh in a Narendra Modi-led central government, our Delhi-obsessed media and political pundits seem to have completely forgotten about Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh. While Advani, Swaraj, Joshi and Singh can at the most deliver as many number of seats, the three chief ministers taken together might be bringing on the table around 55-60 MPs, leave aside three Congress-mukt states and hundreds of MLAs.
Just months after Vasundhara Raje got a landslide victory in the assembly elections, Lalit Modi becomes the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA). Is there a connection? Is he coming back (not in a cricketing sense)? Will the Raje-Modi history repeat itself? In Jaipur the buzz on Tuesday actually didn't have anything to do with cricket. It was about: Are the old power equations now becoming the new power equations?
There are many stories about Lalit Modi in Rajasthan. He supposedly once slapped an IAS officer at SMS stadium during a cricket match. He was the 'final authority' at the then chief minister's residence -- if you were a builder or hotelier seeking permissions or concessions, then Modi would be telling you exactly how much to cough up. He made the presidential suite at the Taj Rambagh Hotel an alternative CMO, acting like an 'alternative CM' himself. He made the Rajasthan Cricket Academy, built to nurture local cricketing talent, a haunt for filthy-rich weddings and boozy parties.
The political map of the ongoing general elections might be dotted with high-profile and/or celebrity-heavy war zones like Varanasi, Amethi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Raebareli, Bangalore (South) etc, but in Jharkhand 2014 is all about the Battle for Dumka.
The 'babalog' of the Congress, so pumped up and rearing to go in 2009, now find themselves as human shields before an oncoming saffron onslaught. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, Union ministers and two of the brightest stars of the now-beleaguered Rahul Gandhi youth brigade, are fighting immense odds at their home states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively.
The indefatigable Babulal Nagar, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, had told this correspondent prior to the assembly elections of 2013 that state Congress leaders would often ask their counterparts in the BJP to make a couple of seats safe (in other words, put up weak candidates) so that the state unit could show that it remains relevant and thereby continue getting its regular share from the central party fund. This is certainly unreliable coming from a BJP leader, but somehow gels with the condition of the Congress in Shivraj Singh Chouhans Madhya Pradesh.