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Veeraraghav T M
Monday , June 24, 2013

The Telengana agitation: committed cadre hijacked by corrupt politics

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Hyderabad under siege! Telengana Erupts! And so the headlines have screamed for the last three and half years. Planted rumours often surface in Delhi that a decision is about to be made. We have waited, speculated and reported but, nothing has moved forward. That cold December night of 2009 which brought the then home minister out of hibernation to make a midnight declaration has now been buried in the heat that has simmered since. A few days ago I had a long chat, over a meagre dinner, with a well known academic from the Telengana region. His limited point was that this time, unlike in the past, an overwhelming majority of people in the region are convinced and committed to a separate state. He drew a comparison to the 1969 Telengana agitation led by the late Chenna Reddy. His argument was that in the 1969 agitation the politician was....

Tuesday , May 14, 2013

Congress' Siddaramiah: Rise of the 'Outsider'

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It was an extremely sultry afternoon by Bangalore standards. The Congress office on Queens's road, deserted till the second half of the counting day, was teeming with people. Inside the ugly concrete structure, elected politicians were in a huddle to choose a chief minister. And outside the building, party workers, journalists and the police were anxiously waiting for the announcement. The anticipation and speculation filled the airwaves. There were two possible outcomes at the end of that day. One was that a Congress leader might come out and parrot lines that we have so often heard after a CLP meeting, "The CLP unanimously authorises the Congress president to choose its leader". But this time it was the rare other that happened - the announcement that Siddaramaiah will be CLP leader and, hence, the CM was decided. In a party where loyalty to the 'high command' is of tantamount importance,....

Monday , May 06, 2013

Does Narendra Modi matter in Karnataka?

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"I think you will have to reduce 20 to 30 seats for the Congress from your projection. Apparently, Congis are getting loose motions after Narendra Modi's Bangalore campaign". I received this message as I was on a train to Bangalore and it was from an old college friend who lives in Mumbai. It's one of those messages that I often get from friends who have suddenly begun believing that Modi is an instant solution to any problem. They are not affiliated to the Sangh Parivar, neither do they subscribe to a right-wing ideology; they seem to be just bowled over by the Modi story and his propaganda machinery. In most cases those who send these messages are people who work very hard in their cubicles, live in guarded apartment complexes in concrete jungles that we call cities. Their socio-political contact is dominated by either a tweet or maximum....

Tuesday , April 10, 2012

Why Congress must worry about Jagan

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The most flabbergasting experience for me in Andhra Pradesh was Chiranjeevi's 2009 election campaign. The crowds would pour over each other to see him, from the windows and balconies they would throw flowers - it was as if a God was walking past and he would sweep the state. But come the results and the God was turned into a crushed mortal and the Reddys showed why they ruled. It was an important lesson that the crowds don't turn into votes and that YSR Reddy, despite humongous charges of corruption and dictatorial leadership, was a vote catcher. In 2012, the man on the campaign trail is Jagan Mohan Reddy. The crowds gather at each of his rallies and road shows and it would be starkly stupid to believe that these crowds will not turn into votes. Jagan is a politician who has projected his image as the victim....

Tuesday , April 19, 2011

How and why money matters in an election?

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There's been quite a lot of talk about the distribution of money by the DMK in the Tamil Nadu election. The allegations against the ruling party are largely true and despite the Election Commission's crackdown money did flow to the voter, choked by the crack down, but it did reach the voter. The question really is can the money change the outcome of an election where nearly 80 per cent of the nearly five core voters cast their vote. Many analysts feel that focusing on money distribution as the only reason for an electoral victory is an insult to the electorate's sensibilities, yes that's true but that argument cannot discount the fact that cash to the voter is decisively changing the electoral dynamics at least in specific states. If it doesn't help then no politician will distribute tons of stolen money to the voter. The Congress under the....

Saturday , March 05, 2011

The Dravidian Syndrome '11 (2G vs Free TV & Vijayakanth vs Cong)

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I can't help point out that the results in the spate of Assembly elections we are about to witness will be on Friday the 13th of May. I am not much of believer in superstition but politicians are. Jayalalithaa especially is. To her this election is no less of an exorcism of DMK rule in Tamil Nadu and I wonder how she feels about the Friday the 13th. I guess we will find out only after the results, but, till then it's all about speculation and analysis - some credible and others incredible. I write mine and hope it's less incredible and more credible! Since 1991, the side the Congress party has supported has won. Except in 1998 when Moopanar went on his own and the Congress was a non-entity. Enter 2011 and do we have an alternative to the Congress in the form of a third force, the one....

Tuesday , February 17, 2009

Lok Sabha '09: J vs K in Tamil Nadu

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In the 1960s Tamil Nadu politics was defined by a clash of ideologies, the Dravidian versus the Congressman was the principal driver in a political debate. One represented the aspirations for a regional power and the other hoped to keep the region part of a national ideology. The two ideologies found several faces and personalities to represent them, if the Dravidians had Anna the Congressmen had Kamaraj, but despite the existence of such strong personalities the clash was always one of ideologies and not of personalities. Since the 1970s we saw the start of inter-Dravidian rivalry and the emergence of M.G.Ramachandran as a rival to Karunanidhi. The two were different faces of the same Dravidian ideology and hence the differentiator became the two personalities and not their ideologies. The end result was the beginning of an era where politics was defined by a clash of personalities. Issues, ideology....

Tuesday , July 15, 2008

The Ks of Tamil Nadu - Wah, Kya Family Hai...

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I have often wondered where Tamil cinema draws its inspiration for melodramatic, overly emotional and impractical family sentiments, from. Perhaps they are inspired by the mysterious family complexities surrounding the lives of our "great" Dravidian leaders. Much like mega serials in competing channels, the real life Dravidian political family story comes with different star cast and entirely original plots. We have Jayalalithaa... little is known about her family (except of course the "Friend" Sasikala), the intrigue here cooks up a great plot. We also know about MGR and his adopted children, who are now engaged in a bloody battle over the late chief minister's monetary legacy (of course many within and outside his family try to corner his political legacy). Then we have Ramadass, senior and junior, twin stars of what seems to be a political-business blockbuster. But, all these would appear juvenile, unprofessional and average stories when compared to....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Modi Versus Modi

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Reporter: Modi Saab Jeetenge tho kya hoga? BJP Rebel: Chun Chun ke marenge hum sab ko Any friendly off-the-cuff banter with any one who is against Modi will yield that response.It's a reminder that in Gujarat 2007 the very political survival of the loser is at stake, be it Narendra modi or be it the rebels.The winner in these elections is much like a gambler in Las Vegas he will take it all.The reason it's such high stakes is because in Modi's Gujarat, there's place for no one else. Even an LK Advani or a Sonia Gandhi will only be fighting for a distant second in terms of appeal and political space. How did Modi become so huge? The answer lies not just in the 2002 carnage, but also more importantly in what happened after 2002.The Gujarati urban middle class treats Modi like a demigod; this urban....


More about Veeraraghav T M

Veeraraghav has been a TV journalist for over a decade, during which he has worked primarily outside the corridors of power in New Delhi. While he's focussed on reportage of political affairs and elections, he has covered issues ranging from the tsunami, the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, inter-state disputes, drought, floods, crime, terrorism and international conflict in Sri Lanka a country he has visited over 6 times. His focus is to attempt to understand India beyond the urban centers and media perceptions. He worked with New Delhi Television between 2000 and 2005 and joined CNN-IBN in 2005 as the channel's Tamil Nadu Bureau Chief. He shifted to the headquarters in Noida as Senior Edior in July 2009. In India he has closely followed and reported on eight Assembly elections in the four southern states and Gujarat and has also closely followed three General Elections. He was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarships for Broadcast Journalism in the year 2007 and trained with the BBC in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Veeraraghav sees journalism and imperfections in the society as a tool in the pursuit to work towards absolute honesty and building genuine relationships. His favourite moments in life are with his wife, son and parents. His obsessions in life include his Enfield Bullet, vegetarian food and readings on International and Indian politics and society.


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