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Bengal local poll results don’t bode well for the BJP, Left

The Trinamool Congress has pulled off a massive victory in West Bengal’s municipal elections by winning 71 of 92 civic bodies (up from 38 won in 2010). Its Kolkata win was even more crushing: 114 of 144 wards (95 in 2010). The entire opposition accuses TMC of rigging the elections—a charge that carries some credibility given the scale of TMC’s victory, huge winning margins of some candidates (e.g. 15,000-30,000 votes), and the party’s known reliance on muscle-power.

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Kejriwal’s winner-takes-all intolerance bodes ill for AAP

. . . there’s no long-term future for AAP unless it democratises itself and broadens its horizons beyond winning elections.

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Four years after Fukushima, India is flogging a nuclear dead horse

It’s a telling comment on the state of the Indian media that most of it blacked out the fourth anniversary of the still-continuing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, which fell on March 11. The same media reported breathlessly on the Indian government’s plans to triple domestic nuclear power-generation capacity by 2020-21, and on the “breakthrough” achieved on the nuclear liability issue during Barack Obama’s recent visit to India.

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Of Rape, Censorship & National Honour: Mera Bharat Mahan!

If the Indian government wanted to become the laughing stock of the world, it couldn’t have done so more instantly and effectively than by banning the BBC documentary India’s Daughter on Delhi’s December 2012 gang-rape. Not only was the film watched by millions the world over; it became a cause celebre for feminists, defenders of free expression and even progressive Hollywood actors.

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Aam Aadmi’s Self-Inflicted Wounds: Kejriwal must show vision

It may appear to be an unfortunate coincidence to many that serious dissension should break out in India’s political wunderkind, the Aam Aadmi Party, within a few weeks of its spectacular victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, which stopped the Narendra Modi juggernaut.

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'आप' की जीत से मजबूत होंगे वामदल?

ऐसा 25 साल में दूसरी बार हुआ जब एक उभरती हुई राजनीतिक शक्ति ने भारतीय जनता पार्टी का बढ़ता रथ रोका है.

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Beyond Congress’s Leadership Failure: An existential crisis

It’s a telling comment on the state of the Indian National Congress that a four-member committee it appointed four months ago to devise a strategy to rejuvenate the party and fight the Modi government has turned out a non-starter.

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Attacks on activists speak of pathological intolerance

t’s not easy being a public-spirited activist in India these days. If you’re a right-to-information campaigner, you run the risk of being physically eliminated, as has happened to more than 20 activists in recent years. If you’re a conscientious whistleblower, you could be victimised—like AIIMS vigilance officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi—or murdered, like Shanmugam Manjunath.

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Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

India’s new Modi government trains its guns on environmental activists.

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The juggernaut hasn’t only been halted, it has crashed

There isn’t just one big story in the Delhi election; there are two. The first is the staggering victory of the Aam Aadmi Party, which polled 54.3 percent of the vote, even higher than the Janata Party’s 52.6 percent in the landmark post-Emergency “wave” of 1977.

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Indian politics has a new moral force

''A stunning victory in Delhi’s state assembly for the anti-establishment Aam Aadmi party has brought Narendra Modi down to earth Aam Aadmi Party win election in Delhi''

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Did Obama Legitimize Extremist Violence With His Visit to India?

The president roped once-non-aligned India into a strategic alliance, but only by bolstering the Modi government, with its religious intolerance and pro-corporate policies.

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Europe In Islamophobia’s Grip?: The Charlie Hebdo murders

More than two weeks on, the debate on the barbaric killings of Charlie Hebdo journalists and the freedom of expression has become a conversation across time-zones and political, cultural and legal divides. This is probably the first time that such a debate is taking place in a world connected by Facebook, Twitter and U-Tube.

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Tribute to a brilliant writer-activist — Mike Marqusee

"Mike Marqusee (61), who died of cancer in London last week, was one of the finest products of the Anglo-American world’s “‘60s generation”, with a brilliant intellect and a passionate commitment to social justice and human values."

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Democracy Wins Big In Sri Lanka: Time for a new start

The people of Sri Lanka have made the cause of democracy proud by handing a humiliating defeat to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ending 10 years of authoritarian rule. Mr Rajapaksa called an early election, and lost to his former health minister Maithripala Sirisena-despite his last-minute attempts to rope Bollywood stars into his campaign and desperate appeals to vote for the "known devil".

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Promoting Prejudice, Poisoning Minds - Parivar’s intrusions into education

If there’s one thing that the 102nd Indian Science Congress, held in Mumbai, will be remembered for, it’s the outrageous claims made at it about the achievements of science in ancient India, including the assertion that Indians between 7000 and 6000 BC knew how to make airplanes that could undertake “interplanetary travel”, and fly backwards and sideways, as well as forwards!

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Mufti seriously risks loosing the plot in Kashmir

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s national leadership has officially confirmed that it’s in talks with the People’s Democratic Party to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. This proposal is endorsed by a surprisingly large number of self-avowed well-wishers of the Kashmiri people, as well as cynical “realists” who believe that such a coalition of extremes, between India’s unitarian-nationalists and the Kashmir Valley’s “soft-separatists”, is J&K’s best chance of having a stable government which paves the way for its greater integration into India. The parties’ respective core-bases, Jammu and the Valley, they argue, “complement” each other. Arithmetically too, the two — with respectively 25 and 28 seats — would command a solid majority in the 87-seat Assembly.

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Why the PDP should not ally with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir

By allying with the BJP, Mufti risks becoming Kashmir’s version of the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, powerless against Israel’s occupation, yet legitimising it and dependent on it. The PDP will almost certainly suffer a rout soon. But it will have helped Modi to strut about the world for having fully coopted J&K’s Muslims in an “inclusive” arrangement, and whitewashed his own terrible record in Gujarat and beyond. What a coup that would be for the RSS-BJP!

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Hindutva Trumps ‘Development’: BJP’s real agenda

Some commentators have deplored the conferment of India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on Madan Mohan Malaviya, but many have welcomed its award to the Sangh Parivar’s first Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The latter include even Amartya Sen, himself a Bharat Ratna and Nobel Laureate, who called Mr Vajpayee a “great statesman” while expressing some reservations about his policies, but praising the “human quality” behind “his leadership”.

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How the Parivar is taking over institutions in education and culture (Parts I and II)

A hallmark of the Modi government’s first 200 days in office is the beginning of the Sangh Parivar’s Long March through the Institutions of the State, in particular bodies that deal with education and culture. The Parivar’s agenda is to influence their working to reflect its own specific brand of “cultural nationalism” by engineering long-term changes in their programmes and priorities, and making key appointments of personnel who will loyally execute such changes.

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