For days and weeks to come, there will be finely combed analysis on what the Indian Air Force did in the early hours of February 26. There will be claims and counter-claims from India and Pakistan about the nature, scale and success of the operation. The world will keenly wait to see if there is an escalatory spiral. International relations scholars will ask if this marks the end of Pakistan’s ability to deploy nuclear blackmail to wage an asymetrical war with India.
But in the theatre that means most to political parties, the strikes, although they may not have been motivated by political considerations (the mood across the country was one that was demanding retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack), have given one side the clear edge on national security.
With less than 50 days to go before the elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi have locked in their political script. This script, coming in the wake of a challenging political climate, will have three key inter-related ingredients — of a “decisive” and “muscular” leader who can be trusted; of a “nationalist” party willing to defend Indian interests; and of a “stronger” India which has changed the rules of engagement with its arch-rival.
To be sure, neither the Pulwama attack nor India’s response to it should be politicised , but the nature of politics anywhere in the world is that attacks and strikes such as these will be used in campaigns. Two caveats are essential at the outset.
Indian general elections are deeply complex. It is often a sum of state elections. Each state has its own political dynamic. Regional parties play a huge role in many of these states. Local factors — of candidates, caste, social engineering, alliances and arithmetic, religious polarisation — matter. So does the economic narrative. The nature of the campaign is also key in determining the outcome. And few elections in India have been won or lost because of a single factor.
This is also a fluid diplomatic and military situation. Pakistan has threatened a response. And it is not clear what form it will take, and what India will do next. At the same time, the Pulwama terror attack and now the cross-border air response gives a key talking point for the BJP in the elections and leaves the Opposition scrambling to find an appropriate response.
Here is the context. After the setback in the state polls last year, the BJP was staring at a rather drastic reduction of its 2014 tally. The Modi “hawa” was seen to be ebbing. The Congress revival was the big story. Rahul Gandhi had come into his own, with sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra making an entry into politics. Key opposition alliances had got stitched, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. The issue of jobs and agrarian distress undermined the government’s narrative of progress. The BJP’s state governments were underperforming too, adding an extra layer of anti-incumbency. And while losses in north, west and central India seemed inevitable, corresponding gains in the east and south were not apparent.
When presented with this scenario, BJP leaders often turned to two formulations. The first was how this will be a presidential election.They had Modi. The Opposition had no leader. And the second defence rested on how this narrative underestimated the tremendous work done in creation of rural assets — housing, toilets, roads, electrification — and in the structural reforms.
But a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader admitted candidly last month, “Modi has always believed that you need an emotional factor in elections. That emotional factor is missing so far.” The air strikes gives the BJP precisely this emotional factor.
Over the past 10 days, there has been both spontaneous outrage and organised campaigns to channel the upsurge of nationalist sentiment. Modi himself ratcheted up expectations at his public meetings — emphasising how angry India was, how the terrorists had made a mistake, how he had given a free hand to the forces to respond, and how there will be a price to pay. BJP leaders were deputed to attend funerals and visit the families of martyrs. The party will do everything in the next few weeks to advertise these air strikes as proof of Modi’s decisiveness.
This, then, will be used to reinforce the BJP’s commitment to national security, laced with the subtext that the opposition parties have always been weak on the question. The BJP will repeat its assertions that the Congress kept quiet after 26/11, while this government responded after both Uri and Pulwama. It will claim to have called Pakistan’s bluff and made sponsoring terror more costly for them. And it will suggest in campaign speeches that this is an India which faces threats; it needs a strong leader epitomised by Modi and a strong party and not a chaotic leaderless coalition of disparate forces. The BJP is feeling vulnerable in its stronghold of Hindi heartland — and it hopes this message will resonate the loudest exactly in this area.
Whether this works or not will only be known on result day. But the Opposition has a clear challenge. It knows the national mood was for strong action after Pulwama. It has praised the air force. But non-BJP parties feel stuck, for they cannot be seen as either congratulating or criticising the government. The former will allow Modi to monopolise credit; the latter will allow the BJP to accuse the Opposition of politicising the attacks even as it does so on its own quite systematically. Rahul Gandhi played a smart tactical card by appointing Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda to head a task force on national security. But the Opposition now needs to take a call — of whether to engage on national security issues at all where the BJP has the edge in public imagination or cede that space and seek to turn the conversation back to domestic economic issues where it may have an edge.
The air strikes may or may not alter the outcome of the elections entirely. But they will change the nature of the political conversation and shape the campaign for sure. This suits the BJP. The Opposition will have to find innovative ways to wrest back the initiative.
Who owns the Qutub Minar complex? The court will pronounce its verdict on December 12.
The matter of demanding the right of worship in the Qutub Minar complex is once again in discussion. In fact, the Saket court has reserved its decision on the reconsideration petition filed in the matter. Delhi’s Saket court will pronounce its verdict on December 12.
This reconsideration petition was filed by petitioner Kunwar Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad in Saket Court. In fact, the Saket court had rejected the petitioner Kunwar Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad’s petition in the matter of ownership of Qutub Minar. Kunwar Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad Singh had filed a petition claiming ownership over Qutub Minar.
By filing the first petition, Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad Singh had demanded to make himself a party in this matter. It was said in his petition that the government had taken over the entire property in 1947 without our permission. This petition was rejected by the court.
The last time in September, when the ASI’s lawyer opposed the petition of Kunwar Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad Singh, saying that Sultan Begum had claimed the ownership rights over the Red Fort, we had opposed that petition in the Delhi High Court. Even then the court had accepted that there is no basis for the demand made in the petition. ASI had requested to dismiss the petition of Kunwar Mahendra Dhawaj Prasad Singh.
Dry day, holiday in schools, metro timings also changed… know the changes before the MCD elections in Delhi
The noise of campaigning for the Municipal Corporation elections in Delhi has come to an end. On Sunday i.e. December 4, votes will be cast to elect councilors in 250 wards. Before this, the Delhi government made three major changes so that the election arrangements can be implemented smoothly. In view of the elections, the Excise Department has declared a dry day for three days in Delhi. That is, there will be a ban on the sale of liquor in Delhi from Friday to Sunday. Liquor shops will remain closed on all three days. Apart from this, a holiday has been declared for all government schools on Saturday by the Delhi government. Due to the next day being Sunday, there will be a holiday in the schools. The third decision has been taken by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Metro services will be available every half an hour from 4 am on Sunday, the day of voting. This process will continue till 6 in the morning.
On behalf of the Education Department of the Delhi government, it was told that due to the preparations for the voting to be held on Sunday, a holiday has been declared for all government schools on Saturday. In return, schools will remain open on 10 December i.e. on the second Saturday of the month.
Liquor shops will remain closed for three days in the capital
Similarly, Delhi will have a dry day for three days from Friday. Delhi Excise Commissioner Krishna Mohan Uppu told that under Rule 52 of Excise Rules 2010, December 2 to 4 and December 7 will be dry days. Dry days are those days when the government bans the sale of liquor in shops, clubs, bars. According to the notification, there will be a dry day in Delhi from 5.30 pm on Friday, 2 December to 5.30 pm on 4 December. Not only this, there will be a dry day on 7th December i.e. the whole day of the results. That means there will be a ban on the sale of liquor.
Metro service will start at 4 am on Sunday
At the same time, Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) has made changes in metro operations on the day of polling. Metro services will be started at 4 am on December 4 (Sunday), the day of voting in MCD elections. Metro will be available on all lines at an interval of every half an hour from 4 am to 6 am. After 6 am, the normal frequency will continue like normal days. Delhi Metro is currently providing services on a total of 10 lines, including Red Line, Yellow, Blue, Green, Violet, Pink, Magenta, Gray, and Airport Express Line.
Man kills live-in partner with cleaver in West Delhi
According to police, a 45-year-old man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly murdering his 35-year-old live-in partner at her rented house in Ganesh Nagar, West Delhi. According to police, the woman’s 16-year-old daughter was asleep in another room at the time of the incident.
According to the police, the victim, Rekha Rani, had lived in Ganesh Nagar with her daughter for more than 15 years, and the partner, Manpreet Singh, had stayed with them for the past 7-8 years.
According to police, Manpreet gave Rekha’s migraine patient daughter some pills and told her to go to sleep on December 1 at around 6 a.m.
“He informed her that her mother had gone to the market when she became suspicious and inquired about her mother. She called her cousin and went to his Paschim Vihar home. They then called the police when they discovered that their house in Ganesh Nagar was locked. Ravindra Singh Yadav, Special CP (Crime Branch), stated, “The victim’s daughter stated in her statement that she suspected that Manpreet had harmed her mother and that Manpreet and her mother had been fighting over money for some time.”
According to the police, the suspect allegedly stabbed Rekha in the neck and face while she resisted and mutilated a finger on her right hand.
Manpreet moved in with Rekha after meeting her in 2015. He claimed that Rekha stopped letting him visit and talk to his family because, over time, she started to feel insecure. A police officer stated, “He purchased a chopper (cleaver knife) recently to murder her and planned to kill her.”
According to the police, the accused is allegedly involved in six cases in Delhi, including kidnapping for a ransom, an attempt to kill, the arms act, and forgery.
According to the police, the suspect drove to his home village of Nabha in Punjab after killing the woman. Police said the car was found through toll barriers and he was caught using technical investigation.
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