Why the Congress party should stop apologising about dynasty

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint.in, 31 October 2018

(From left)  Krishna Kumari, Swarup Rani, Motilal Nehru, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and Jawaharlal Nehru.
(From left) Krishna Kumari, Swarup Rani, Motilal Nehru, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Continue reading “Why the Congress party should stop apologising about dynasty”

Here’s why Modi gets away with his gaffes, while Rahul Gandhi gets called Pappu

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint.in, 27 August 2018

There’s a clip of a Narendra Modi speech that made the rounds of social media recently, where the Prime Minister is talking about converting foul gas coming from a sewer into fuel. The statement became such a butt of jokes that the BJP and its supporters on social media were forced to counter it. Continue reading “Here’s why Modi gets away with his gaffes, while Rahul Gandhi gets called Pappu”

To defeat Modi, the opposition needs to woo Nitish Kumar back

(First published in ThePrint, 3 July 2018.)

Nobody asked Nitish Kumar to join hands with the BJP. He did so on his own, blaming it on corruption charges against his deputy CM, Tejashwi Yadav. 

In truth it was a brazenly opportunist decision made with the calculation that the opposition had no prospect of dethroning Modi in 2019. “Nobody can defeat Modi in 2019,” Nitish Kumar had declared after switching sides.  Continue reading “To defeat Modi, the opposition needs to woo Nitish Kumar back”

Why Rahul Gandhi is India’s worst dressed politician

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint, 29 April 2018

There are three rules of political dressing. Continue reading “Why Rahul Gandhi is India’s worst dressed politician”

The inside story of what Cambridge Analytica actually did in India

(First published in ThePrint, 27 March 2018.)

Alexander Nix and others of SCL Laboratories tried working in India on a project in 2011, but it collapsed in 2012 as Nix’s secret plan was accidentally outed. 

New Delhi: Cambridge Analytica, the controversial UK political consultancy, claims on its website that it worked on the Bihar assembly elections in 2010, and its clients won a landslide victory.

Formed in 2013, Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm is Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL). It has worked in India through an Indian company called Strategic Communication Laboratories Private Limited. Company records show the firm has four directors: Alexander James Ashburner Nix, Alexander Waddington Oakes, Amrish Kumar Tyagi, and Avneesh Kumar Rai.

The first two are British citizens who were among the four co-founders of SCL in the UK in 2005. Amrish Tyagi is the son of Janata Dal (United) leader K.C. Tyagi. He also runs the firm Ovleno Business Intelligence, which now works with Cambridge Analytica in India.

But who is Avneesh Kumar Rai, the fourth director of SCL India? Continue reading “The inside story of what Cambridge Analytica actually did in India”

How Narendra Modi avoids the ‘India Shining’ trap

[This article first appeared in ThePrint on 22 February 2018.]

One of the reasons for the defeat of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA coalition in 2004 was the election slogan: “India Shining”. Instead, a better slogan would have been “India Rising”, as L.K. Advani later admitted.

There’s a fundamental problem in politicians trumpeting their success and saying “I did it”. Once the story is over, the audience moves on to something else. It looks for other, newer stories.

A successful election slogan doesn’t seek to end the story but keeps you hooked to it. When a movie ends, you don’t even wait to see the credits before you get up and leave. But a TV series ends with some suspense that makes you want to watch the next episode. That is also how successful politicians present their work. Continue reading “How Narendra Modi avoids the ‘India Shining’ trap”