On the evening of July 28, Mamata called on Sonia Gandhi for what she called “chai pe charcha”, yet another dig at the big adversary. Talking to reporters later, she said the Congress president was equally keen on building an anti-Modi platform for ‘Hope 24’—Mamata’s catchword for the next general election. “We want to see ‘sachche din’; we’ve seen enough of ‘achhe din’,” she said.
In the past too, the Congress, TMC and other like-minded parties have made noises about the need for a strong national opposition to take on the BJP, especially after the latter played underhand games to grab power. So what’s different this time around? Mamata upped the ante only after she had secured her state bastion, in a bruising battle and seemingly against odds —demonstrating in the process that she had the nerve to take on Modi’s BJP. Also in the strategising mix this time around is the man who helped her forge that victory—Prashant Kishor or PK, as he is commonly known. PK has been busy meeting opposition leaders across the country, including the likes of NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, who is also an active participant in this enterprise to rally the opposition forces ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Meanwhile, Mamata’s plans for a big meeting of Opposition leaders at Banga Bhawan on July 28 may not have materialised, but individually many leaders called on her in Delhi, including Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma (Congress). She also met AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and has lined up meetings with Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) and Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party).
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SUKHBIR'S COMEBACK QUEST
On September 3, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal suspended his statewide tour, ‘Gall Punjab Di (conversations about Punjab)’, in which he meant to cover about a hundred of the state’s 117 assembly seats.
The change of guard at the top had two primary objectives: winning over the Patidars and tackling disaffection in the BJP ranks. Can new chief minister Bhupendra Patel keep the BJP’s ranks together until the election in 2022?
“WE HAVE FOCUSED ON BRINGING CHANGE ON THE GROUND”
The Covid pandemic did not spare Himachal Pradesh. Tourism in the state was hit hard, but the apple economy mitigated some of the damage. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, 56, spoke to Group Editorial Director Raj Chengappa and Senior Editor Anilesh S. Mahajan on the impressive progress his government has made in vaccinating its citizens and sounds confident that tourism and other state industries will soon be running at full steam. Excerpts:
THE DEFENCE MINISTRY’S AMBITIOUS PLAN FOR A SECOND PRODUCTION LINE TO BUILD SUBMARINES, FIGHTER JETS, BATTLE TANKS AND HELICOPTERS STUTTERS IN THE SLOW LANE
DIDI MEANS BUSINESS
It took more than a decade and three back-to-back assembly wins for the Mamata Banerjee government to roll out the red carpet again for the Tatas. Mamata came to power on the back of a farmers’ movement in Nandigram-Singur against the land acquisition for the Tata Nano factory (2006-08), and it hasn’t been easy for her government to shed the anti-industry image it acquired in the bargain.
BIG BROTHER'S SHADOW
AN UPBEAT BJP HAS AN ‘ATMANIRBHAR’ PLAN FOR THE 2025 BIHAR ASSEMBLY POLL. THE TWO CURRENT DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTERS ARE SETTING THE STAGE FOR THIS
ADDED BENEFITS, HIDDEN COSTS?
MAKING FORTIFIED RICE A NATIONAL STANDARD IS A WELL-INTENTIONED MOVE, BUT EXPERTS WARN OF THE RISKS OF OVERDOSING ON MICRONUTRIENTS
A WILD WIND FROM WESTERN UP
AS THE REGION’S JATS AND MUSLIMS UNITE AGAINST THE CENTRE’S FARM POLICIES, THEY POSE A CHALLENGE TO THE RULING BJP’S PROSPECTS AHEAD OF THE 2022 UP ELECTION
War Or Peace?
On September 11, the Assam government extended the ‘disturbed area’ status of the state by another six months under AFSPA or the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. While the state government is yet to give a reason for the extension, the move has come at a time when the central and state governments, both led by the BJP, have been making regular claims that peace has returned to the northeastern state.
Asset Monetisation: The Big Push
The Modi government hopes to raise Rs 6 lakh crore over the next four years by ‘monetising’ public sector assets—leasing them out to the private sector for long-term operations. Can it deliver on this game-changing idea?
THE CAB RIDE
I sat in the cab on my way to the airport as the driver zoomed over Delhi’s wide roads. The sun was rising over the horizon as a new day dawned – quite literally, as election day approached the city of Delhi.
The National Interest: Jonathan Chait
Biden’s Everything Bill The sweeping $3.5 trillion package is so big it might paradoxically be passable.
Trump's Executive Orders That Won't Do Anything But Spark Class War
From the comfort of his cushy private golf club, Trump signs executive orders that won’t do anything but spark class war
Go Big or Go Home
Joe Biden tackled Covid and an economic crisis in his first 100 days. It won’t get easier from herea
Does Congressman Andy Harris represent the future or end of the Maryland GOP?
Fear of a Digital Dollar
Central bankers are looking at virtual currencies that could work without banks
CONGRESS TO PRESS BIG TECH CEOS OVER SPEECH, MISINFORMATION
The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google face a new grilling by Congress Thursday, one focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence.
The Birds of Kanha
RAJESH MENON is a photographer from Delhi, who specializes in images from nature. Here he shares some of the beautiful birds of Kanha Shanti Vanam, the 1300 acre property outside Hyderabad, India, that is the international headquarters of the Heartfulness Institute. It is also a green sanctuary.
Federal Debt: A Heavy Load
The debt continues to grow, but record-low interest rates could ease the long-term damage.
HOW FREDERICK DOUGLASS DESTROYED JOHN C.CALHOUN WITH THE POWER OF JOHN LOCKE
ARMED WITH THE CONSTITUTION, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE FAR- REACHING GUARANTEES OF LIBERTY AND EQUALITY THAT THEY CONTAINED, DOUGLASS TOOK THE FIGHT DIRECTLY TO THE SLAVEHOLDERS.