In Seemandhra today, the YSR Congress faces its first full-fledged electoral test after Jaganmohan Reddy took over it in 2011 and re-launched it as a new party under his leadership. The party won 16 of the 19 Vidhan Sabha seats that went to polls in the 2012 by-elections in Andhra Pradesh. This election, the party is fielding candidates in all Lok Sabha and assembly seats in soon-to-be-divided Andhra Pradesh, including the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies and 175 Legislative Assembly seats in Seemandhra.
The results from the Afghan presidential elections were announced on 26 April, three weeks after polls were conducted. As most predicted, they indicated a runoff between the two top candidates: the former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, and the former finance minister and chairman of the Transition Coordination Committee, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. The runoff is likely to take place at the end of May, after which history will be made with a peaceful transfer of power for the first time in Afghanistan.
On 28 August 2015, Nandita Narain, a mathematics professor
from St. Stephens College, was re-elected as the president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA). Narain, a candidate from the left-affiliated Democratic Front and a vociferous critic of the semester system and four-year undergraduate program (FYUP), won the election by a margin of around 700 votes. On the same day, at around 2.30 pm, I found myself at a tea stall located between the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Law buildings at north campus in Delhi.
Who Was Shivaji was first published as in 1988 as Shivaji Kon Hota by Communist Party of India leader Govind Pansare. The work is not as much a biography of Shivaji as it is an attempt to debunk some of the myths surrounding his persona. In his introduction, Anirudh Deshpande, an associate professor in the department of history at Delhi University, notes that Pansare questions the way in which dominant Maratha historiography has enforced modern,(colonial and post-colonial), religious categories on the past.
Every set of elections has its share of controversies and criticisms and the ones that took place in late-2011 and early-2012 were no exception. In some cases, I found myself being personally attacked in sections of the media. One such controversy related to the Commission’s decision to cover the statues of Mayawati (then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) and statues of elephants—the election symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which she heads—located in public parks that had been built using public funds.
In March 2014, Pawan Kalyan, one of Telugu cinema’s biggest stars and the youngest brother of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, took the plunge into politics by establishing the Jana Sena Party (JSP). He made a grand entry with a thrilling speech on 14 March at the party’s inauguration in a convention centre in Hyderabad. But he arrives at a time when Andhra Pradesh—which votes as one state but will have two assemblies with the formation of Telangana on 2 June—more than most other parts of India, is witnessing a stampede of celebrities in politics. With the exception of Venkatesh, all the major male stars of the industry, who have hundreds of thousands of fans’ associations among them, are either campaigning themselves, endorsing individual candidates or expected to campaign. Kalyan’s brother Chiranjeevi leads the Congress campaign. Nandamuri Balakrishna, who had limited his role to campaigning in the past, is now contesting for the assembly on a Telugu Desam Party ticket. Mahesh Babu is endorsing a TDP contestant. Akkineni Nagarjuna met Narendra Modi and fuelled speculations that he is all set to campaign for BJP.
On the night of 23 April, over dinner at a friend’s place in Lucknow, I was invited by Anshuman Dwivedi, a teacher at a local coaching institute, to attend a gathering at Kudia Ghat in Old Lucknow. The aim, Dwivedi said, was to pledge to protect the Gomti, the river that bisects the city.
The industrialist-politician Naveen Jindal will not be pleased to learn that Ramesh Agarwal, an environmental activist and internet café owner in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, is one of the winners of this year’s $175,000 Goldman Environmental Prize. Agarwal began his activism in 2005 and won his first legal battle in 2010 when he managed to prevent the expansion of the mining company Scania Steel & Power Ltd. in Chhattisgarh. He has been a thorn in Jindal’s side since 2010, and has taken him to court for irregularities in mining, power and coal projects planned by his company, Jindal Steel & Power Limited. In this extract from our March 2013 profile of Naveen Jindal, Mehboob Jeelani travels to Raigarh to meet Agarwal and learn about his fierce battle against the corporate colossus, as well as the terrible price he paid for his activism.
From the Delhi Press archives: Sonia Gandhi with a young Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi, who has been a three-time MP from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, is campaigning for the same seat this year. Rahul Gandhi is campaigning from Amethi, a seat he has held since 2004. Priyanka Gandhi, despite feverish speculation on whether she will formally join politics, has stated that she will not be contesting a seat. Rae Bareli and Amethi go to polls on 30 April and 7 May, respectively.
On 18 April, I had just reached the town of Ferozepur Jhirka in Haryana’s Mewat district when my phone beeped with a message from a friend. It said that Gabriel García Márquez was dead. I put my phone away. I had traveled to the town, about ninety kilometres from Gurgaon, to enquire into allegations leveled by the Aam Aadmi Party of widespread booth capturing by several parties. Mourning the great writer’s passing would have to wait for the moment.