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Can India see in Gujarat what US witnessed in Alabama?

In a momentous turnaround in Alabama where a Republican lost after decades of sustained victories, America saw where the power of democracy lies. Can something similar happen in Gujarat, the state of Indian PM Narendra Modi on December 18? 

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The political narratives in two of the world’s most prominent democracies – India and the United States have unfolded in a similar form. In both countries, a right-wing majoritarian populism has taken deep roots and the implication of such leaderships in the respective nations’ social life has been found to be serious. Be it the India of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the US of President Donald Trump, the idea of democracy as an arrangement to promote a universally free will has been overshadowed to a point of deep worry. For the common citizens of both these democracies who believe in a universal dignity of human life, the noisy progress of things under both Modi and Trump has been disturbing, to say the least. The continuous attacks on human life and the decorum that is associated with it in these two extremely populist regimes have left many with the desire to see a backlash at some point of time.

The outcome of Alabama’s senatorial race in the US was perhaps a divine response to that call. The defeat of the controversial former judge Roy Moore who has been accused by a several women of sexual misconduct in his younger days is being seen as a blow to Trump himself for her had ignored warnings from his own party men to back the former in the election. Moore’s loss against Doug Jones meant a Democrat candidate has won from Alabama, a state known to be a Republican stronghold, for the first time in 25 years.

For those who see the Trump era as an endless nightmare in the history of the US, this is a welcome change ahead of the crucial midterm elections in 2018. The mainstream media, which has been seeking an opportunity to launch an attack on Trump since his victory in the presidential elections last year, has already forecast that he result in Alabama would shake Washington in the near future. After the morale boosting victories in governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey last month, the result in Alabama is certainly going to give the Democrats a much-needed moral boost.

Gujarat election in India has a close parallel with Alabama poll

Drawing a close parallel with Alabama, the result of the crucial election in the Indian state of Gujarat to be declared on December 18 is also key for Prime Minister Modi. This election is a prestige battle for the premier for Gujarat is his own state and in the wake of his government’s controversial measures like demonetisation and goods and services tax and the rising instances of attacks on minorities and lower sections of the society in the name of cow protection and resisting ‘love jihad’, the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party or Indian People’s Party) is not as confident as it looks otherwise. There are basic differences between the American and Indian models of democracy – the former is more individual-centric while the latter’s party-centric – but in essence, both are witnessing a similar churning.

If the BJP faces an adversity in the Gujarat elections (even a reduction in its tally of seats if not a defeat will be considered a blow for Modi ahead of the 2019 national elections), then those voices that are finding themselves buried under a pile of majoritarian sentiments at the moment will get a reason to feel vindicated. If Gujarat’s electorate decides to go Alabama’s way, then the democracy in India will also find an opportunity to rediscover it by breaking the monotony of the Hindutva majoritarianism.

A lot at stake: Both for Trump and Modi

Just like Trump who backed Moore because in the latter, he had found a like-minded soul (though he distanced himself from the man after the results came out saying he knew it beforehand, highlighting again his narcissist being once again!), Modi also chose to dump the rhetoric of development during the highly charged campaigning for the Gujarat polls. This is a departure from the past when the man emphasised on the development card over everything else to attract the electorate.

In a state which is being ruled by this party for over two decades now and of which he was the chief minister for over 12 years, Modi’s strategy to ignore development and make polarisation the central argument has turned several analysts off.

The prime minister has been seen building a narrative linking the Opposition Congress-Muslim-Pakistan to cater to the majoritarian sentiments and it was considered by many observers as a new low of Indian politics. Modi even accused his predecessor Manmohan Singh of colluding with Pakistani guests at a dinner party, a gesture which had left the Opposition as well as a section of the media fuming.

Just as Trump had invited the voters of Alabama to choose Moore saying the “future of the country” was at stake, Modi’s campaigning over the Gujarat election also say how much significance it holds for him and his party. A setback in Gujarat can also affect all the good work Modi’s general Amit Shah, the BJP president, has been doing over the past few years, just like Steven Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, who was hit by Moore’s loss.

As the Trump-Moore combination helped the Democrats by cobbling up the black, women and youth votes in favour of Jones, the Patidar agitation and the coming together of Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and young caste/community leaders like Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor has similarly put the BJP under pressure in the Gujarat election this year.

A loss can see BJP implode, just like the GOP

There is also a similarity in the situations of the Republican Party and the BJP. While Moore’s loss is bound to have a serious repercussion for the GOP even worsening the civil war within it, a not-so-happy outcome in the Gujarat poll can also put the BJP’s house in disarray. The party certainly has not been a united outfit since Modi’s elevation took place and any less-than-expected result in the prime minister’s state can have a shocking impact.

Gujarat, thus, has all the potential to become India’s own Alabama. And if an Alabama-like story is repeated there, then democracy will be credited for producing the magic of fooling its hijackers – yet again.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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