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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››
It’s the BCCI, stupid! - Surjit S Bhalla, Financial Express
The LalitGate story has been relentless, manufactured, and in my opinion, suggests that the English TV and print media is extremely biased. Ever since Narendra Modi (no relation to Lalit Modi) got elected with a surprising majority last May, the “liberal” English media has not come either to terms with this fact. One can go into the reasons, but in the main, there are two. First, PM Modi is not one of them. Second, their forecasts and assessments of the man and the event (Election 2014) were nowhere close to the eventual reality.
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A convoluted path to salvation - Priyadarshi Dutta, Pioneer
Christian activists in India had breathed fire and brimstone over some obscure attacks on the churches in New Delhi not long ago. Not a single person was scathed in those attacks. No hate graffiti, banner or literature was recovered from the spots. Yet, those isolated incidents were quickly attributed to the BJP’s ascension to power. On one occasion, the Delhi Police Headquarters was gheraoed, and on another, roads in the heart of the city were blocked. 
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Bengal politics, doggy style - Abheek Barman, Times of India
Sherlock Holmes asked, “Why didn’t the dog bark at night?” He alas, is no more, nor are Feluda or Byomkesh Bakshi. Because today Bengal politics is rocked by the Case of The VVIP Dog. In mid-June a dog, referred to simply as “Canine, VVIP, Unknown”, was admitted to the dialysis wing of Kolkata’s top state-run SSKM Hospital, meant for humans. Kolkata does not lack for veterinary care. The outrage that followed – SSKM is hard-pressed to deal with people – produced a scapegoat...
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What to tell the public — and how - Vinati Dev, Business Line
How governments communicate their policy choices to the public is as important as the policies they make. This is all the more important for India which is poised to enter a phase of politically hard, second-generation reforms. It is important that all parties recognise the importance of political communication. Shoddy articulation of plans or rhetorical opposition will no longer be acceptable. Political parties must choose their words — and when to say them — with care in order to see their mandates through.
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Corruption and Indian democracy - Ashok K Lahiri, Business Standard
The recent Lalit Modi affair has raised two serious questions about corruption in India. Why has India's vibrant democracy not been able to check corruption? And are we condemned forever to live with corruption far higher than that in many developed countries in the West? Almost 2,500 years ago, Kautilya captured the seductive power of graft by comparing it with resisting honey that has been placed at the tip of your tongue. Detecting the misappropriation of funds by public functionaries...
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The new normal in terrorism - Mint
When serving as the US national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, once famously remarked, “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” In a world rent by terrorism, the resonance of this statement is even greater as governments have to be on their alert at all times. Even a moment of laxity can be deadly. Last week, three countries—Tunisia, France and Kuwait—were reminded of the cost of letting down their guard. In Kuwait, a suicide bomber led an attack on a Shia mosque killing 27 people on Friday.
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Yoga Modified: From soft power to nationhood - Swapan Dasgupta, Times of India
There is always a danger in trying to anticipate the manner in which an event that seems terribly significant today comes to be viewed by posterity. Matters are further complicated by a made-in-media society that is often inclined to attach more breathless significance to a 140-character tweet than it did to the abolition of the Planning Commission. The significance of last Sunday’s World Yoga Day was to a large extent overshadowed in India by the lavish media attention showered on the controversies...
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To forget is costly - Swapan Dasgupta, Deccan Chronicle
At the best of times India is bad at commemorating the past. Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the 40th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s 20-month Emergency will be marked in a perfunctory way. Although even this patchy commemoration wouldn’t have happened had the Congress still been in power at the Centre, the casual way India approaches its history — both distant and recent — is quite galling. This makes it possible for the entire horrific experience that shaped the political outlook...
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Will States do their BIT? - Pradeep S Mehta, Business Line
While launching the Make in India campaign, the Prime Minister had also unveiled ‘Team India’ — including the Prime Minister and chief ministers — to work in sync for development. This has become pivotal in economic decision making at the Centre, and its imprint can be seen in almost every policy. That said, since States are pursuing investment they are also competing in improving the ‘doing business’ indicators furiously. And many are engaging in economic paradiplomacy — CMs are travelling abroad to woo investors.
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Janata couldn’t have won without RSS - Surajit Dasgupta, Swarajyamag
I have been sympathetic to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh because it is a nationalist organisation. I am not a supporter; there are aspects of its belief system — chiefly science and economics — that I disagree with. This is the first time I am dedicating an article to its wisdom and heroism. For, this is what I learnt over the past few days; it is true, but nobody has told this story before. Even the most extensive of reports on the political developments of the 1970s...
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