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Abhishek Patni
Thursday , January 02, 2014

PM's press conference: Speech of a defeated General?


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As Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh addresses his first formal press conference after a gap of almost four years it is time to ponder if the Congress has any strategy to stand back on its feet once again and fight back in whatever time is left for the next Lok Sabha elections. Or should we expect Manmohan Singh's press conference to be more like a farewell speech of a defeated Army General? The jury might be out on that one but there is no doubt that Congress is merely reacting to the drubbing it received in the recently concluded elections in four states - Delhi, Madhaya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh with the sole exception being Mizoram. These elections have no doubt thrown up some interesting questions. Is there a strong anti-wave against the ruling Congress? Or, as many say a pro-Narendra Modi wave? Will the Aam Aadmi Party....


Saturday , August 24, 2013

Ayodhya 1992: Why India changed for ever


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The year was 1992, place Lucknow. We were four friends - all studying in ISC final year in St Francis College. Like any normal student we used to take private tuition from a well renowned physics teacher who lived near Butler Palace in the heart of the city. Everyday around 5 pm, four of us used to meet near a small restaurant near Hazaratganj where we all used to come on our bicycles. We were all normal and average students from simple middle class families and aspired to do something in life. Everything was common among us - we liked books; often visited British Library in Hazaratganj, (unfortunately it has been shutdown now); movies were our passion, we sometimes secretly enjoyed an occasional smoke, and liked munching an odd meetha paan (one of the best paan was available in a small shop near civil hospital in Hazaratganj). ....


Saturday , March 03, 2012

UP Polls 2012: Maths of multi-cornered political battle


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Two month long exciting phase of elections in India's five states has finally come to an end. These elections have been a nightmare for the poll pundits and are expected to throw up interesting results. Five states going to polls are Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and the most crucial state - Uttar Pradesh. These elections have virtually puzzled the electorate more so the poll pundits. In Punjab after nearly five decades, a ruling party, the SAD-BJP combine under political veteran Prakash Singh Badal has dared to shrug-off anti-incumbency; in the hill state of Uttarakhand its BJP CM BC Khanduri's "Mr clean image" Vs the Congress which is hoping for a comeback this time. In the North-East, the violent state of Manipur may see incumbent Congress Chief Minister Okram Ibobi retaining power; while Goa in West India another Congress Chief Minister, Digambar Kamat faces an uphill task with....


Sunday , February 26, 2012

UP elections: The King and The Joker


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Perhaps for first time, an election is not only being keenly contested but also being even more keenly discussed - from paan shops to party headquarters to the newsrooms of media houses, its Uttar Pradesh elections that is the topic of discussion these days. India's most populous state is witnessing one of the most fiercely fought and perhaps the most unpredictable political battles in recent history. What makes UP's elections fascinating this time is fact that this land of the holy Ganges and revered Yamuna is witnessing a four cornered battle between two major regional players - the resurgent Samajwadi Party, ruling Bahujan Samaj Party and two national parties such as Congress and the BJP. The political landscape of UP has become even more interesting with the mushrooming of smaller parties such as Peace Party and Apna Dal with a dash of large number of dons which are going....


Monday , January 09, 2012

Elections a family affair in Uttar Pradesh


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The first recorded dynasty in India is the Nair Dynasty which ruled the South Indian state of Kerala from the pre-Vedic age to the 18th century. Since then, more than 35 dynasties have ruled India. Interestingly, the last one is the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty - politically the most powerful family in India. No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that dynastic rule (or what is called 'bhai bhatijawad' in local parlance) is a matter of the past, history suggests that dynastic rule has thrived in this country for more than 2000 years and will continue to be in our politicians' blood. Be it the 'party with a difference' - the BJP, the Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP or Ajit Singh's Rastriya Lok Dal. All these parties are plagued with dynastic culture right at the grass-root level and often it manifests itself in an ugly form just before the elections.....


Saturday , June 19, 2010

When will Rahul Gandhi play mixed doubles?


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We live in a country where people seem to be obsessed with politicians, their lives and their past lives. And, perhaps no other family in India has drawn people's attention than the Nehru-Gandhi parivar. From the days of lawyer and Congress leader Moti Lal Nehru, to the family's fifth generation and poster-boy Rahul Gandhi, people's thirst for knowing minutest details about India's numero uno dynasty hasn't quenched at all. So as Rahul Gandhi turns 40 today, most Gandhi watchers seem to have the same question on their lips: When will India's most eligible bachelor get married? What will happen to this country if there is no sixth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi clan? Although Priyanka Gandhi is blessed with two children, she - at the moment- does not intend to join politics. (Cannot say what her children will do in the future). Says, Mohammad Irfan Sheikh,....


Friday , May 07, 2010

A long queue awaits Kasab


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On Thursday morning millions of Indians remained glued to their TV sets to see whether India's most wanted man - Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab -- gets a death sentence or not. Dozens of guests from all walks of life -- lawyers, politicians and opinion-makers -- were seen moving in and out of the air-conditioned television studios of channels, while in the scorching sun outside the special court in Mumbai, reporters tried their best to get that one piece of information from the jam packed court room - a news which they believed will change the people's mindset about the judiciary in dealing with terrorism related cases in India. At around 2 pm, the entire world came to know that the 22-year-old Kasab was awarded death sentence by the court. People cheered on the streets of Mumbai, burst crackers, while inside Parliament the Indian Home Minister....


Friday , March 06, 2009

Nano means small, and small means development


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Uttarakhand was once a state reliant on the money order economy and huge liquor revenues. Today the hill state has come a long way. And there is no better example than the fact that when the Tata Nano car rolls out at the end of March, it will do so from the Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand. Unlike Uttar Pradesh - which has always been an epicenter of Indian politics - Uttarakhand might not have a history full of glorious political tales and flamboyant political stars such as the Nehrus and Gandhis, tall leaders of the stature of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or political heavy-weights like the Mulayams and the Mayawatis; but read Uttrakhand's brief political history and you will be forced to believe in the maxim: 'the smaller the better'. Unlike its 'elder sibling'-- Uttar Pradesh --from which the hill state was carved out in 2000, Uttarakhand....


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mayawati: The Inside Story


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Letter from the states: Uttar Pradesh The year was 2001. I was attending Mayawati's press conference in Lucknow. Quite unlike her lavish PCs held these days, whenever out of power Mayawati used to invite journalists to her Mal Avenue residence (allotted in her name as a former chief minister of UP) where the conference used to be held in a small portico - Mayawati sat at a small table covered with white linen facing a dozen odd plastic chairs fixed neatly for the reporters. On that hot summer day Mayawati further charged the atmosphere by quickly announcing the removal of her party's three important leaders - R. K Chowdhary, Barkhu Ram Varma and Krishan Pal Singh for their alleged anti-party stand on the controversial reservation issue. Even as the conference was in progress, the news got flashed on the TV channels. After the conference got over journalists....


Friday , July 04, 2008

Maulana Mulayam and perils of nuclear deal


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August 2007: UNPA leaders meet in New Delhi to hold discussions over the crucial Nuclear Deal. After the meeting UNPA chairperson and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav addresses a press conference and tells the reporters: "We have no foreign policy. Even the Congress does not know what our foreign policy is. We will go to the parliament and the people." Now cut to 3rd July, 2008: The same UNPA leaders again meet in New Delhi to discuss their stand over the Nuclear Deal. Now Mulayam Singh Yadav is neither willing to oppose the Nuclear Deal either inside the parliament or out on the streets. Instead the Samajwadi Party Chief has taken a U turn. While the UNPA leaders pose photographs holding each other hands for the camera and try to send a message that they stand united, Samajwadi Party's dramatic shift towards the Congress marks the beginning of the....


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More about Abhishek Patni

Abhishek Patni is currently working as a News Editor with CNN-IBN in Delhi-NCR and is handling news operations in the channel. In his 17-year long career as a professional journalist, he has worked with newspapers such as The Pioneer, Hindustan Times and television channels such as Zee News and Sahara Samay before joining CNN-IBN as Bureau Chief in Lucknow during launch of CNN-IBN in 2005. A keen observer of politics, Patni has covered the 1997, 1998 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections and the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections of 1997, 2002 and 2007. Apart from several special reports and impact stories which include Amitabh Bachchan’s Barabanki Land scam, Manjunath murder case, Mayawati Taj Corridor case, fall of 13-day Vajpayee govt in 1997; Abhishek has also reported live from Badrinath on the kapat opening ceremony at height of 10,800 feet in 2002- the first tv journalist to do so. He has made several documentary films prominent among them being ‘Highland Trade’ shot at a height of about 14000 feet on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra route and ‘Sugarcane Tigers’ shot in the jungles of Dudhwa National Park in UP. A product of St Joseph's College Nainital, Abhishek has a Masters in Modern Indian History from DAV College, Dehradun. He also has a post-graduate diploma in journalism and mass communication from Bhartiya Vidhaya Bhawan, Lucknow. He has done an appreciation course in professional cinematography from Pune in 2001. Loves photography, traveling, trekking, reading and writing.
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