Narendra Modi’s new book ‘Exam Warriors’ is an extension of his grand plan to woo first-time voters for 2019

By Shivam Vij for Firstpost, 3 February 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book Exam Warriors may perhaps win him more votes than his election budget that shied away from disbursing sops.

To be released on Saturday by Penguin Random House India, the author’s bio on the book is five paragraphs long. The very first paragraph reads, “His victory was propelled by historic support from India’s youth, particularly first-time voters.”

That is factually correct. A data analysis by political scientist Oliver Heath in 2015 found that the BJP’s unprecedented victory in 2014 was propelled less by the votes it snatched away from other parties and more by new, first-time voters. Continue reading “Narendra Modi’s new book ‘Exam Warriors’ is an extension of his grand plan to woo first-time voters for 2019”

Modi Has A One-Point Economic Agenda And It’s Succeeding

By Shivam Vij

[This article first appeared in HuffPost India on 12 October 2017.]

In October 2015, a little over a year after Narendra Modi became prime minister, the price of pulses suddenly saw a sharp increase. It was, as it often is, election season. Narendra Modi had staked his own persona in the high-pitched battle for Bihar. Lalu Yadav’s supporters came up with a biting slogan: Arhar Modi, a pun on Har Har ModiGhar Ghar Modi – the slogan for the PM’s Lok Sabha campaign in Varanasi. Continue reading “Modi Has A One-Point Economic Agenda And It’s Succeeding”

May We Ask Just One Question About Modi’s Permanent Campaign?

By Shivam Vij

Governing with political approval requires a continuing political campaign, wrote a pollster for US President Jimmy Carter in 1976. This gave birth to the theory of permanent campaign.

Reliance on political patronage and the party organization gave way to pollsters, campaign strategists, data and technology. By the time the Bill Clinton era arrived, this had given way to the idea of the permanent election. The administration behaved as though an election was always round the corner.

Narendra Modi’s 2014 election campaign was never over. He’s always campaigning, always pitching, as if an election is always round the corner. An election is indeed always round the corner in India, and every state election is seen as a referendum on Modi.  Continue reading “May We Ask Just One Question About Modi’s Permanent Campaign?”

Bihar’s Greatest Mystery: How Did BJP Let Its Caste Strategy Go So Awry?

By Shivam Vij

(First published in HuffPost India, 25 October 2015.)

First they said they have an OBC-EBC strategy. Then they gave away a large number of tickets to upper castes. Then they said their chief minister will be from amongst the backward castes. Now Amit Shah says it could be from upper castes or backwards, we’ll decide after the elections.

The BJP’s shifting, confused, botched up caste strategy in Bihar can best be described with the Hindi proverb, Dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka na ghat ka. By now the party finds itself between a rock and a hard place, sending mixed signals and confusing all voters. Continue reading “Bihar’s Greatest Mystery: How Did BJP Let Its Caste Strategy Go So Awry?”

Amit Shah vs Prashant Kishor: Who will be wizard for forthcoming Bihar elections?

Firstpost, 20 July 2015

The forthcoming assembly election in Bihar is arguably the most important state election during Narendra Modi’s tenure as prime minister. Bihar’s result will have an impact on the Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017. If the BJP is unable to fly its flag in Patna and Lucknow, it will have frittered away the chance to reap long-term benefits from the Modi wave of 2014.

The election will also be a litmus test for Amit Shah whose reputation as an electoral wizard has been dented considerably by the gargantuan AAP victory in Delhi. With so much at stake, the man in the BJP crosshairs, however, is not even a member of the JD(U). Continue reading “Amit Shah vs Prashant Kishor: Who will be wizard for forthcoming Bihar elections?”

Had I spoken my mind on Bal Thackeray’s death, TV stations would have been burned: Vinod Mehta

First published in Scroll.in on 30 November 2014.

Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of the Outlook group, published a bestselling autobiography,Lucknow Boy, two years ago. He then felt he had more to say. His new book, Editor Unplugged: Media, Magnates, Netas and Me, will be released by Arundhati Roy and Arnab Goswami in Delhi on December 12. In this free-wheeling interview around the book, he speaks to Scroll.in about a range of subjects. The first part of this interview was published yesterday.

You’ve republished your biographies of Meena Kumari and Sanjay Gandhi, but not your first book, about your early years in Bombay.
I wrote it when I was 26. Some of the contents of the book…My mother, who is dead now, was ashamed when she read it. I wrote in that book about many things which a young man of 26 years would write. About his bohemian life, his womanising, etcetera. You don’t care at that age what you write. I still have a copy of the book and the publishers are chasing me for it. Continue reading “Had I spoken my mind on Bal Thackeray’s death, TV stations would have been burned: Vinod Mehta”

The 2015 question: will Modi finally deliver the good times?

First published in Scroll.in on 1 January 2015.

When he finished a month as India’s fifteenth prime minister, Narendra Modi said that he had been denied a “honeymoon period”. Truth is, Modi was given a very long honeymoon period of seven months. It was only in December that some of his own ardent supporters started asking tough questions of him.

2015 gives Narendra Modi a clean slate. Will he act decisively and deliver to India the good governance he had promised? Continue reading “The 2015 question: will Modi finally deliver the good times?”

Why Emperor Modi needs Nehru, Gandhi, Indira and JP

For Scroll.in on 14 October 2014

Nicholas Kamm/AFP

When the English built the New Delhi capital in 1931, they gave many major roads around it such Indian names as Prithviraj Road, Ashoka Road, Ferozshah Road, Akbar Road and Aurangzeb Road. This was only partly in response to growing Indian nationalism. It also served to legitimise the British Raj as the legitimate successor of empires past. For most of history, Delhi has been the capital of the land, and the British decided to move here from Calcutta to show who ruled it. Continue reading “Why Emperor Modi needs Nehru, Gandhi, Indira and JP”

Chacha Modi should abolish Teachers’ Day

Photo credit: NarendraModi.in
Photo credit: NarendraModi.in

For Scroll.in on 3 September 2014

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan became India’s second President in May 1962. Some months later, some of his friends, admirers and sycophants told him that they would like to celebrate his birthday, which fell on September 5. That was when the scholar-president said that he’d prefer if it were instead celebrated as Teachers’ Day. After all, Radhakrishnan had blazed a path as a respected teacher, holding positions in several prestigious institutions, including Madras Presidency College, the University of Calcutta, Oxford and Benaras Hindu University. Continue reading “Chacha Modi should abolish Teachers’ Day”