16 April, 2021

The Magic Tricked

With AAP’s win, the Modi-Shah monopoly stands challenged

Illustrations by Saahil
The Magic Tricked

Less than 24 hours before Air Force One was to touch down at Palam, there was an SMS: Sushma Swaraj would address an election rally in the evening at Malkaganj Chowk, not far from my neighbourhood. I wondered whether the foreign minister of India should not be boning up for American President Barack Obama’s visit next day rather than sweating it out in Sabzi Mandi’s bylanes. Curious, I ambled over to the venue. It was a classic nukkad meeting. Poorly lit stage; poor crowd, 200-odd people; she had already arrived. After local candidate Rajni Abbi belted out her number, the foreign minister took over. She rather went through the motion of selling her party. Though she talked about the prime minister’s various schemes, neither the crowd nor she seemed particularly enthused. Not once in her 20-minute speech did she mention Narendra Modi by name.

Another day, another speech. A day after Delhi had voted, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was addressing a gathering in Ghaziabad, the city that gave the BJP the second-highest victory margin in the May 2014 Lok Sabha...

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