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India in the age of bread and circus - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is the age of powerlessness at the Centre. For all practical purposes, a lame duck Manmohan Singh is presiding over a system where chief ministers call the shots. Nearly a dozen chief ministers, led by Mamata Banerjee, may have just ensured the freezing of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). And if any proof of the Union government’s weakness was required, the Prime Minister provided it himself. Read Full Article››
Getting India back on track - Ashley J Tellis, Mint
The 2014 national elections will be a critical waypoint along the road to restoring India’s economic growth. One survey after another has suggested a deep yearning for change. The electorate—in both the cities and villages—seems seized by the need to return the country to high growth. The transformations that began with the economic reforms unleashed in the 1990s have given Indians a taste of what structural change can bring to their lives. The explosion of resentment against corruption only testifies to the popular desire...
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Opinion poll gives NDA a clear majority - Times of India
For the first time in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a poll on Monday predicted a clear majority for any pre-poll alliance with NDTV projecting that NDA would get 275 seats in the 543-member House. This is 16 seats more than the poll had predicted last month. BJP on its own would win 226 seats — the highest tally ever for the party and the best by any party since 1991, the poll done by Hansa Research estimated. UPA would win just 111 seats, with Congress sinking to its lowest-ever tally of 92 seats, it said.
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Think local, Mr Modi - Andy Mukherjee, Business Standard
Narendra Modi will have empty coffers greeting him. If pollsters' predictions come true and the opposition politician becomes India's prime minister next month, he will have to contend with a grim fiscal situation. Total public expenditure is growing at a pace of 15 per cent annually, faster than the expansion in the nominal economy. Meanwhile, tax collections have increased only 10 per cent in the first 11 months of the fiscal year that ended in March. Mr Modi might be tempted to hit the brakes on spending.
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India-China border dispute: Coping with asymmetry - Shyam Saran, Business Standard
In 1983, when I was serving in our embassy in Beijing, there were a series of informal and confidential exchanges on the possibility of resolving the border issue. The Chinese leadership was keen on a visit to Beijing by then India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had also taken over the same year as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was pointed out to our Chinese interlocutors that such a visit would hardly be possible without the border issue being resolved in a satisfactory manner. 
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BJP 1.0 to BJP 2.0: The party is at an inflection point - Ashok Malik, Economic Times
Taking a longer view, it is exciting as a political watcher to see the BJP go through a moment of transformative change. The 2014 election could just be an inflection point for the party. The expression "could just" is used instead of the simpler "is" because the change invested in needs to be validated by electoral success. This will then establish that the change has been worth it and persuade or nullify residual internal doubters. Such inflection points are not unknown in political history.
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Damning indictment - Editorial, Times of India
Throughout the ten years of UPA rule Congress president Sonia Gandhi heaped praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his vision, leadership qualities and personal integrity. The latter, in turn, sometimes went to an embarrassing extent to return the compliment. But in Delhi's incestuous circle of senior politicians, bureaucrats and media persons, hardly anyone doubted that this mutual back-scratching was an elaborate charade. What Sanjaya Baru — who served as media adviser to Manmohan Singh in the UPA-I regime...
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Gujarat is India’s top state in economic freedom - SA Aiyar, Times of India
Does Narendra Modi actually have a great Gujarat model, or just wellpackaged hype? Critics say that Gujarat has grown fast, but some others have grown faster.  The Raghuram Rajan Committee on development indicators says Gujarat’s social indicators are just middling. Looking at children of class 3-5 who can do subtraction, Gujarat has declined from 22nd among 28 states in 2006 to 23rd in 2012. However, economist Arvind Panagariya argues that Gujarat has made substantial social progress under Modi, starting from a low base. 
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Tectonic shifts after May 16 - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
One of the deadliest truisms in our business of reading election trends is, never trust journalists with their predictions. But when all journalists agree on the outcome of an election, take it easy. You know for sure that exactly the opposite will happen. We would only hope this doesn’t extend to psephologists as well. Because if it did, you might end up looking very stupid by 11 am on May 16. I shall, therefore, be a coward and confine myself to drawing upon the opinion poll data to predict (yes, predict) lasting shifts in Indian politics.
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Active or inert?: The two lives of Manmohan Singh - Veenu Sandhu, Business Standard
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in stately South Block on Raisina Hill has fallen quiet. Manmohan Singh is seldom seen here these days. His staff is in the process of winding up. Personal belongings, especially his many books, are being packed. Since this is election time, no official meetings are taking place and bureaucratic appointments have been put on hold. At one level, Singh seems to have gone into retirement mode: he has addressed just three rallies so far and is making time for the family.
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Here's what I would have said at Brandeis - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, WSJ
One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.
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