List of Sanskrit E-Magazines, Newspapers & Journals

This is a list of all Sanskrit E-Magazines & Journals.  There are only two criteria that are followed to be called a Sanskrit E-Magazine/Journal.

  1. The magazine, newspaper or journal must have an electronic version (it may or may not have a print version) and must be tailored for a generic audience (not specialised research or subject based magazines).  The electronic version may be subscriber based or may be free.  I have not made any preferences on this score.
  2. The journal/magazine/newspaper must be totally in Sanskrit.  I am not minded to list those magazines/journals that also print articles in Sanskrit, alongside those in other languages (a separate version in other languages is fine).  This may be part of a future project, but for now, I am listing only those magazines/journals/newspapers that publish fully in Sanskrit.

The following information is included in each journal, magazine or newspaper.  Anyone wishing to submit a journal for consideration must submit the following information

a) Name of the newspaper/magazine/journal b) its webpage c) contact information regarding the editor/magazine d) Duration between two publications.

The latter is to enable any writers to contact the editors of the magazine with their articles.  Additional information regarding the kind of articles welcome in the magazines are also vital, if available.  Where the location is available, it has also been added, so that regionally interesting articles may be sent to magazines working in/from the respective locations.

  1. Journal: जाह्नवी, Website: , Type: Monthly, Contact: , Location: Editors in various places, but principal editor located in Darbhanga, Bihar.
  2. Journal: शारदा, Website: . Type: Weekly, Contact: , Location: Pune, Maharashtra.
  3. Journal: सम्भाषण-संदेशः, Website: , Type: Monthly, Contact: , Location: Bangalore, Karnataka.
  4. Newspaper: सुधर्मा, Website: , Type: Daily, Contact: , Location: Mysore, Karnataka.



BJP Chances in Kashmir – An Overview

The BJP put up a very impressive performance in Kashmir in the recently concluded LS 2014 polls, which has given hope to its supporters that a total victory in Kashmir is possible. In this article, based on the demographics, and BJP performance in the past (LS2014, to be precise), we will analyse just how much swing BJP will need in the region to actually win. Whether BJP is chasing a mirage or a perfectly feasible goal, I shall leave to the readers to judge for themselves.

Kashmir is made up of 3 regions, viz, Kashmir Valley, Jammu & the Chenab valley, and Ladakh. It is an open question whether the Chenab valley should be clubbed with Duggar desh in the unified Jammu sub-division, since there are some differences between the non-Dogras and the Dogras. Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, I have put the Jammu districts together in my analysis.


There are 4 seats in the Ladakh region, viz, Kargil, Zanskar, Nubra, and Leh. The votes won by the BJP, and the INC+NC are shown below.

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The BJP, in the recently concluded LS2014 polls, won Leh, and came a close second in Nubra as can be seen. With an effort, the BJP should be able to retain Leh, and win Nubra too. However, in Zanskar, it was placed a distant 4th.behind the Cong+NC candidate and two independents (both Muslims), who won 5690 and 6046 votes. Further, Zanskar is a Muslim dominated seat (~70% Muslim), and the BJP in the forthcoming Assembly poll has fielded a Buddhist (Shree Sianzin Lakpa), so I will leave it to the readers to compute the BJP’s chances of winning Zanskar. In Kargil, the BJP got 1963 votes in the LS2014 polls, but the same two Muslim independents who outdid it in the Zanskar got 20507 and 23411 votes respectively. Kargil is also Muslim dominated (90%+ Muslim). Unless the BJP candidate in the Assembly polls (Shree Abdul Aziz) manages to win based on his own stature, the BJP is unlikely to make much headway in this seat too. To win, the BJP needs to win more than 10 times what it got in the recently concluded LS2014.

Kashmir Valley:

For the Kashmir valley, we shall perform a different kind of experiment. We shall examine the BJP’s performance in the different Assembly segments in the Valley. Shown below is the BJP performance in every seat in the valley. We have divided the table by the three Lok Sabha seats in the valley. The seats where the BJP has got more than 500 votes are highlighted.

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We have highlighted every cell where the BJP won more than 500 votes in Baramulla constituency. Given that the winner in almost all constituencies in Baramulla got 7000 to 40000 votes (one exception was Sopore, where the winner got only ~500 votes according to Form 20 of the ECI – one fervently hopes this was not a mistake in the ECI report), we imagine that having at least 500 votes is a pre-requisite for the BJP to be taken seriously in these particular Assembly segments, no matter how the vote splits, coheres, migrates, rises due to higher participation and all manner of permutations and combinations thereof. We have also tabulated the winner in those highlighted seats to give the readers an indication of how the BJP vote compares against the winners’ vote.

In Srinagar, where the separatist boycott interfered with the voting, the winning vote was over 4000 in most segments except for a few Srinagar city constituencies, where the winner got very low number of votes. However, given that the BJP strategy of winning with the Pandit votes has got wide publicity over the last few months, it must be expected that wherever the number of Pandit votes is high, the constituencies will see a decent turnout. In the Srinagar seats where the BJP expects to do well, Habbakadal and Amirakadal, the BJP got a grand total of 31 and 113 votes respectively in the LS2014 polls. The Pandits simply did not care to vote at all, one imagines, or even if they did, they chose not to vote the BJP.

In Anantnag, except for a couple of constituencies like Tral, the total vote of the winner is above 4000 votes. In Anantnag, where the BJP is depending on the Pandit votes for victory, in LS2014, the BJP won 106 votes, while the winner 9689 votes. There is only one constituency where the BJP won more than 500 votes, and that is in Pahalgam. There, the winner got 24355 votes.

From the above tables and information, it should be easy to see that the BJP will be extremely lucky to open an account. Winning 5 seats, as has been bandied about, will require nothing less than a divine miracle.


It is here that the BJP put up a spectacular performance in the LS 2014. There are a total of 37 seats in Jammu. Of these, the BJP won 9 of the 17 in Udhampur, and 15 of the 20 in Jammu. To make a long story short, the BJP won nearly every seat which has a Hindu majority in Jammu. In fact, it even won borderline seats like Akhnur, Kalakote and Bani. Just repeating this feat, when it faces off against some Cong. and National Conference stalwarts will be a great achievement. In other words, the BJP, more or less, squeezed every drop of Hindu vote it already could in Jammu. Improvement can be hard. What can the BJP hope to improve? To examine this, we shall tabulate the BJP performance in the seats that it lost in Jammu in LS2014 polls.

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In Udhampur, the BJP lost all the seats where the Hindus are in a minority. In fact, the communal divide was almost total with almost the entire Muslim vote going to Shree Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the bulk of the Hindu vote accruing to Dr. Jitendra Singh. Let us examine where the BJP may be able to do slightly better, by pushing for a better vote share. Of the above constituencies, the BJP lost narrowly in Ramban and Kishtwar constituencies. In the rest of the constituencies (all of which are Muslim, with only Bhaderwah being a bit on the borderline), the BJP is going to find any further progress tough, unless it can break the Muslim vote. And that is really hard. The BJP never gets Muslim vote, in any large degree. In fact, Muslims tend to vote tactically to stop the BJP. Overcoming this handicap in Jammu & Kashmir is a huge challenge for the BJP. Thus far, it has never been able to surmount them.

Of the five segments it lost in Jammu, only Rajouri is even remotely retrievable, and even that is going to be extremely hard. The other four vote purely like Kashmir valley constituencies, as evidenced by the vote divided between the NC-INC combine and the PDP, with the BJP finishing a very distant third.

Given these constraints, what is the maximum that the BJP can win in Jammu and Kashmir?

The BJP can win 2/4 in Ladakh. It will need to be extremely lucky to even open its account in Kashmir valley. In fact, it will need a miracle for the BJP to even open its account in Kashmir Valley. In Jammu, the maximum it can do is retain the 24 seats it won in LS 2014 polls, and add Rajouri, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah and Ramban. This means that the BJP will win 28 in Jammu (a phenomenal performance, to achieve this), 2 of the 4 in Ladakh, and 0/46 in Kashmir Valley. The maximum the BJP can win is 30 seats. More likely, the BJP will win around 25 seats. This should be the safe bet for the BJP. Winning 44 seats in Jammu & Kashmir is a very tall order.

But apart from these cynical politics, there are two more worrying trends for both the BJP, and even more so, for the region. The BJP, in its determination to win over the Chenab valley, which has often been discriminated against by the Valley politicians who have nothing but thinly-veiled contempt for this backward area, is trying to strike up bargains with the not-so-pleasant characters of the Chenab region. This has the potential to destroy the Hindu vote bank of the BJP. Since the 90s, the radicalisation of the Chenab valley has proceeded apace, with Saudi and UP based clerics, routinely lecturing the locals on hardcore Islam. Further, since the 90s, there have been several massacres of the Hindus that have set the minority Hindu population of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and Rajouri on the edge. Last year’s carefully planned Kishtwar riots are just an indication of just how far radicalisation has proceeded. Village Defence Committees (VDCs) were set up in the last days of the 90s and the first decade of the 21st century, to protect the rural Hindus against massacres perpetrated by terrorists. VDCs, which are manned mostly by the Hindus, are, in particular, a source of tension between the Hindus and the Muslims of the region, with the Muslims alleging atrocities by the armed VDCs against civilians, and the Hindus being fiercely protective of the only realistic source of protection to them. The last Jammu & Kashmir government had begun arming Muslims of hill Jammu, and begun posting special police officers to these regions, often making the tensions worse. But the Army posts are often hours away by road, and the VDCs are the only realistic source fo protection for the Hindus. VDCs themselves have been targeted umpteen times by the terrorists, and it is alleged, with local collaboration. In the mid 90s, even a Hindu region like Bhaderwah at the southern end of Doda district, had seen rampant activity by the terrorists, particularly in the rural areas, spooking the Hindu population. The ISI and the Islamists have long harboured ideas of triggering another exodus of the Hindus from the hill regions of Jammu (see Gen. GD Bakshi’s `Kishtwar Cauldron’ for a fantastic analysis of the situation). Any realistic chance the BJP has of winning over the Muslims in the region is by promising concessions on the VDCs. But if the BJP does this, it will lose the support of the Hindus. Consequently, the BJP will have to choose between the two. Further, while many Hindus support revocation of Art. 370, the Chenab valley Muslims are desperately opposed to it, fearing dilution of their population numbers by immigrants from other states.

The other hope of the BJP, the Kashmiri Pandits (and other assorted Hindus of the Kashmir Valley), whose vote the BJP cadre is trying to get, is similarly not overly enthusiastic mainly for one reason. They know that the BJP cannot promise them return to their homes. There is, sadly, an across the board consensus among the Kashmiri parties that what happened to the Pandits is fine and they must not be allowed to return. The property of the Pandits has been mostly taken over (or even sold for a pittance by the Pandits themselves) as they scrounged for existence in the refugee camps of Delhi and Jammu, and their return is fraught. And even if the Pandits property remains intact in the valley, how will the government provide protection across rural Kashmir, where many of them resided, and where most of them are totally unwanted? The present government has made some half hearted moves towards asking the Jammu & Kashmir government to identify areas for a Pandit enclave in Kashmir, but the land availability of, and indeed, even feasibility for, such a project remains in doubt. The problem, consequently, for the BJP, is that they have nothing material to offer the Kashmiri Pandits. Also, many of them are understandably bitter after years of neglect by everyone, including the BJP, which apart from some lip sympathy has been totally unable to protect their interests. Indeed, neither the current government, nor its predecessor, has done anything (at least, as yet) even for the Hindu refugees from PoK (who fled during the Kashmir war of 1947) and have been living on the margins, harassed at every step. It is presumed that there are about three to five lakh such Hindus. There are also another 1-1.5 lakh Hindus who are refugees from West Punjab, who came either during 1947 or 1971, who voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha, but will be unable to vote for the BJP in the current Assembly elections (due to Art. 370) because the BJP has not cleared their domicile status.  Further, in a mammoth rally at Jammu last year, the present prime minister, forgot the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus (belatedly tweeting who could forget about their plight, which was particularly ironic considering he had just done that in his speech).

The only sales pitch that the BJP has is that it is better at development than its opponents. But that same development is hamstrung by Art. 370, which the BJP cannot remove (it is irrelevant whether the BJP wants to remove it or not; they simply do not have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha to do it). Consequently, it is a pretty much empty plate they are offering to their core constituency, no matter the amount of window dressing.

Given these constraints, the BJP will be lucky if they can repeat the feat of the Lok Sabha and it will be phenomenal change if they can touch 30 seats in the Assembly.

Haryana Assembly Poll 2014 – Post Poll Analysis

The scope of the article is to analyse the recent polls in Haryana, with a particular emphasis on the performance of the BJP in the state. In particular, we shall examine where the BJP vote came from, how it performed in comparison to the Lok Sabha elections, and what the lessons for the BJP are.

The BJP has just performed very well in Haryana and has seized power in a state where it had never even been the principal opposition. It has won 33.3% of the total vote, and 47 seats as opposed to the principal rivals, the Congress, which has won only 20.6% of the vote and 15 seats, and the INLD-SAD combine, which has won 24.8% of the vote and 20 seats. This is a huge change from 2009, when the Congress won 35.43% of the vote, the BJP won 9.44% of the vote and the INLD won 26.23% of the vote.

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Before we go into an analysis of the performance of the different parties, it is interesting to see the number of votes that have been cast in 2014, and compare it against the number of votes cast in 2009. In 2009, there was a voting of 72.3% with 94,79, 644 votes, whereas, in 2014, there was a voting of 78.5% with 1,24,26,968 votes cast. Basically, the number of votes cast increased by 31.09%, which is a phenomenal change. Given the huge increase in votes, let us see how the changes have occurred in the number of votes accruing to the different parties.

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Taking a look at the above figure, we see that the Congress vote came down from 33.58 lakh votes in 2009 to 25.59 lakh votes in 2014 in an election where the number of votes rose by 31% compared to the previous election. Roughly, the Congress vote has fallen by about a quarter. This is a huge beating that the Congress has taken. The BJP, in contrast, benefited enormously. The BJP had polled a measly 8.94 lakh votes in Haryana in 2009. In 2014, its vote rose to 41.32 lakhs, more than quadrupling. This phenomenal rise in vote has been unparalleled in history of Haryana. The only one that comes close is the rise of the BJP vote in Karnataka in the aftermath of the Ram wave in 1991. The INLD vote also rose from 24.86 lakhs to 30.77 lakhs, rising by about 25%. Given that the number of votes rose by 31%, they seem to have lost a small proportion. However, it must be borne in mind that the INLD voters tend to be the more committed lot, leaving few votes in the reserves. The rise in the vote share is likely to hurt them, particularly if there exists a good alternative to the Congress in Haryana. Consequently, the INLD can be thought of as having maintained its voters.

The BJP’s phenomenal rise leaves us with a good question. Whose vote did the BJP take? Judging by the fact that the Congress lost about 8 lakh votes, we can assume that the BJP took a good chunk of the Congress vote. The vote of the others in 2009 was 27.4 lakhs, and the vote of the others in 2014 was 26.58 lakhs. The BJP may be thought to have netted about a lakh or so of the other parties’ votes. The main bonus for the BJP seems to have come from the new voters, who have given it most of its vote. In fact, the higher voting in Haryana has benefited the BJP enormously, which goes to show the importance of getting its vote out for the BJP. For this purpose, a dedicated cadre is vital, and the BJP lives and dies by its cadre. Without the cadre, there will be far fewer votes for the BJP.

In terms of the vote share, the Congress lost 14.8% of the vote, coming down from 35.43% to 20.59%. The INLD also lost marginally from 26.23% to 24.76%, a drop of 1.5%. The BJP, on the other hand, rose from 9.44% to 33.3%, a huge gain of 23.9%. This vote rise is unprecedented in the history of Haryana. Among the others, both the HJC and the BSP lost vote share. The HJC lost vote share from 7.32% to 4.22%, a drop of 3.1%. The BSP came down from 6.79% to 4.37%, a drop of 2.42%. The loss of both seems to have been the gain of the BJP.

It is interesting to see how the various parties have done in the different regions of the state. Haryana has four major regions. The northern region, the Ahirwal, the southern region, and the Jat belt.

Northern region:
Out of the 27 seats in this region, the BJP won 22 seats. This phenomenal performance in the north is what has propelled the BJP to a victory. This region comprises of the districts of Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Karnal, and Panipat districts. The BJP has put up a spectacular performance in this region. The BJP won both the seats in Panchkula, all the four seats in Ambala district, all the four seats in Yamunanagar, all five seats in Karnal district, three of the four seats in Kurukshetra, and three out of the four seats in Panipat district. It was only in Kaithal (which shares some characteristics of the Jat belt, and also some Punjabi characteristics) that the BJP performed badly, winning only one of the four seats. The BJP’s superlative performance here has simply blown away all the competition. In contrast, the Congress and the INLD have won only 1 seats apiece. Three seats have been won by independents. In 2009, the INLD had won 14 of the 27 seats, and the Congress had won 8. The BJP had won 1, the BSP 1, and independents 3.

In terms of vote share, the BJP won 37.97% in the Northern region, and it is well above 40% if one counts out the district of Kaithal. In the northern region adjoining the Yamuna (the west bank of the Yamuna), the BJP has swept the polls. In fact, a historical analogy would be that this is a reverse Panipat, with the BJP invading the region from the east and the north. That the BJP has made such huge inroads among the Punjabis augurs well for the BJP, particularly if it chooses to go it alone in Punjab in 2017. In contrast, the BJP vote share was 11.28% in 2009. The BJP has more than tripled its vote share in the northern region, and this region is going to be the bedrock of the BJP with its choice of CM – Manohar Lal Khattar. In all this, there is one small source of worry for the BJP. In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP vote was ~45%. Now, it has dropped by about 8%. In one sense, this was to be expected, because the BJP was in alliance with the HJC (which has about 5% of the vote in the region), and the people were voting for Modi as PM. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind.

The Congress came down from its high of 31.94% in 2009 to 18.71% in 2014. Roughly, except for Kaithal district, where the Congress still retains its vote share, the Congress vote share was halved. The INLD, on the other hand, dropped its vote share from 25.76% to 21.16%.

This region comprises of the districts of Mahendragarh, Rewari and Gurgaon in Haryana. Out of the 11 seats in the region, the BJP has won all the 11. The BJP won all the 4 seats in Gurgaon, all the 4 seats in Mahendragarh, and all the three 3 in Rewari district. Again the BJP’s superlative performance in Ahirwal has blown all competition away. Obviously, the other parties have drawn a blank. In 2009, the Congress had won 7 seats, the INLD 2, the HJC 1, and an independent 1. Now, all non-BJP parties have been wiped out in the region.

In terms of vote share, the BJP has performed superbly, once more, winning 47.2% of the vote. In 2009, the BJP had 12.83% of the vote here. That the BJP has quadrupled its vote is nothing short of superlative. I fervently hope that the BJP richly rewards this region, which has reposed its faith in the BJP. The Congress, in contrast, has fallen from 30.28% to 11.81%, which is roughly a third of the vote percentage it got in 2009. The bulk of the Congress vote seems to have migrated to the BJP, which is now seen as the new champion of the non-Jats. The BJP should shore up this vote bank with good administration and careful policies.

South Haryana:
This region comprises of the districts of Mewat, Palwal and Faridabad. There are 12 seats in the region, and out of the twelve, the BJP won only 3 seats. The BJP was expected to do badly in Mewat (which is Muslim dominated), but surprisingly, has performed less well than expected even in the three seats of Palwal district, losing in all three. However, the BJP did well, winning three of the six seats of Faridabad district. However, it might do the party some good to introspect on its poor performance in Palwal district, and even slightly less creditable (compared to Ahirwal and North Haryana) performance in Faridabad. The INLD has won 4 of the 12 seats, the Congress 3, and the BSP has won 1 seat. Another seat has been won by an independent. In 2009, the Congress had won 5 seats, the INLD 4, the BJP had won 1 seat, and independents had won 2 seats.

In terms of vote percentages, the BJP won 32.48% of the vote. If one removes the Muslim majority Mewat district, then the BJP vote share improves to 37.04%. However, its conversion of vote share to seats was bad in this region, principally because it was faced against a bunch of Congress and INLD heavyweights. Nevertheless, the BJP should reflect on this failure, because it could portend ill for the party. In 2009, the BJP had won 13.01% of the vote in South Haryana (14.35% without Mewat district). The BJP more than doubled its vote percentage, but the improvement has been less marked than in other regions. Further, unlike other regions, the BSP retains considerable influence in South Haryana still, winning 10.02% of the vote. The Congress, on the other hand, fell from 35.14% in 2009 to 23.07% in 2014 of the vote, while the INLD, which won 21.14% of the vote in 2009, actually rose to 22.39% of the vote.

Jat Belt:
This region consists of the districts of Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind, Fatehabad, Sirsa, Hissar, and Bhiwani districts. The region has 40 seats. The BJP has won 11 seats. The BJP won 1 of the 6 seats in Sonepat, 1 of the 4 seats in Rohtak, 2 of the 4 seats in Jhajjar, 1 of the 5 seats in Jind district, 1 of the 3 in Fatehabad, none of the 5 in Sirsa, 2 of the 5 in Hissar, and 3 of the 6 in Bhiwani. This performance leaves quite a bit to be desired, particularly in Hissar, Sirsa and Sonepat districts. In contrast, the Congress has won 11 of the 40 seats, while the INLD has won 14 seats. The HJC has won 3 seats. An independent has won 1 seat. In 2009, the Congress had won 20 seats, the INLD had won 13, the HJC had won 3, the BJP had won 2, and independents had won 2 seats.

In terms of vote shares, the INLD topped the Jat belt winning 28.26%, down from 29.41% in 2009 – a drop of 1.1%. The Congress won 23.86% of the vote in the Jat belt, down from 39.47% in 2009, a drop of 15.61%. Considering that Hooda belongs to this belt, the collapse is all the more stark. In contrast, the BJP won 25.87% of the vote, up from 6.23% of the vote in 2009 – a rise of 19.64% of the vote.

However, the leaders of all the non-BJP parties came from this region – Bhupinder Singh Hooda belongs to Rohtak, the Chauthalas come from Sirsa district, and the Bhajan Lal family comes from Hissar district, so it is unsurprising that their respective parties would do well in their home districts. The Chauthalas won all the 5 seats of the Sirsa district. It is interesting to see that, in Sirsa, at least, the BJP’s alliance with the Dera Sacha Sauda, has not borne fruit – it appears that Chauthala was too strong for them. In Hisar, the HJC won 2 of the 7 seats, while the INLD won 3 seats. In Rohtak, Sonipat and Jhajjar, where the Congress was expected to do very well, the Congress won 5 of the 6 seats in Sonipat, 3 of the 4 in Rohtak, and 2 of the 4 in Jhajjar. This indicates that the influence of the Congress and the INLD, while dented, still remains strong in the home districts of the leaders. On the other hand, in a district like Bhiwani, where Bansi Lal’s legacy is being upheld only by Kiran Chaudhary, the BJP was able to make major inroads, winning 3 of the 6 seats. The conclusion would be that the BJP still has a considerable distance to go in the Jat belt, before it is secure. Further, the BJP needs strong Jat leaders, which it would need to build in the next five years.

Rajya Sabha – A numbers game

The BJP has been beset by a strange problem. While it has achieved majorithy in the Lok Sabha, the party has been unable to achieve a majority in the Rajya Sabha. This is unsurprising – after all, the Rajya Sabha members are elected from the states, and considering that the BJP was nearly absent in nearly half the states, the BJP is found to have only about a fifth of the strength in the Rajya Sabha. Can the BJP improve its strength in the Rajya Sabha in the next four and a half years, i.e., before 2019 polls? Let us look at the upcoming vacancies in the Rajya Sabha in the next five years.

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From the above table, one can see the vacancies that are going to occur in the next few years, and how many the BJP can expect to gain.

First a word about the esoteric mechanism for electing Rajya Sabha members from the states. Each vote by a member carries a value of 100. Suppose there are x vacancies in the Rajya Sabha to be filled up by the State Assembly, then the strength of the Assembly is multiplied by 100, and then divided by x+1. The number of votes needed for a member to get elected is given by the formula
Votes needed = [(Assembly Strength*100)/(Number of Vacancies + 1)]+1. How the whole matter is handled in case of surplus votes is best illustrated in this document.

But in these days of everyone ganging up against the BJP, it is safe to assume that not many parties will cooperate with the BJP in getting its members into the Rajya Sabha. We shall proceed to examine, state by state, what the BJP can expect to get in the next few years in the Rajya Sabha. We shall also make predictions based on the possible scenarios in the coming elections.

But before we proceed, we outline below the current strengths of the parties in the Rajya Sabha. All data is taken from the official Rajya Sabha web site.

INC – 68
BJP – 43
BSP – 14
TMC – 12
JD(U) – 12
SP – 10
Independents – 9
CPI (M) – 9
BJD – 7
NCP – 6
TDP – 6
DMK – 4
SS – 3
SAD – 3
CPI – 2
INLD – 2
NC – 2
JD(S) – 1
JMM – 1
KC(M) – 1
BPF – 1
SDF – 1
NPF – 1
RJD – 1
RPI (A) – 1
TRS – 1

Currently, the NDA numbers are 59 (56 via parties, and 3 independents elected with support from the BJP). Since we are particularly concerned with the strengths of the NDA, the focus is more on the NDA numbers, than the numbers of the others.

Andhra Pradesh:
Current position: There are 7 MPs due to retire (4 in 2016, and 3 in 2018). Of the 4 retiring in 2016, 2 are from the Congress, 1 from the TDP and 1 from the BJP. Of the ones due to retire in 2018, 2 are from the Congress, and 1 from the TDP. Given the current composition of the Andhra Assembly, TDP + BJP has a strength of 106, and YCP has 67. There are 2 more others, who can presumably be expected to support the NDA in the best case. Of the 4 retiring in 2016, the number of votes needed for victory is 35. The NDA should be able to grab 3 of the four in 2016, and 2 of the 3 in 2018. So, as things stand, net gain for the NDA before 2019 polls is 2 from Andhra Pradesh. Of course, if the YSRCP breaks due to imprisonment of Jagan, all bets are off. Net change for NDA=+2. The Congress is going to lose all 4 seats it is currently holding.

Current Status: There are 2 MPs due to retire in 2016. Unfortunately, both are going to retire before the current term of the Assembly expires. Both seats are held by the Congress. With the Congress and their BPF allies holding 90 of the 126 seats in the current Assembly, no change can be expected. Both seats will be retained by the Congress. Net change, none. Congress will hold on to both its seats.

Current Status: There are 11 members due to retire before 2019 (5 in 2016, and 6 in 2018). The current term of the Assembly will have expired before the RS polls are held. Of the 5 retiring in 2016, all 5 are held by the JD(U). Of those retiring in 2018, four are from the JD(U) and 2 from the BJP. In 2016, the number of votes needed to elect a member will be >40.5. If the current status of the Assembly holds, i.e., BJP has 88 members out of 243, the BJP can get 2 members into the RS. If the BJP gets a majority, i.e. 122 seats, the BJP can get 3 of the 5 seats. If the BJP gets a 163 seats (an outlandishly huge figure, one might add – getting 2/3 majority in the Bihar Assembly is a notoriously hard task.), the BJP can get 4 of the 5 seats. The more probably scenarios are either 2 seats, or 3 seats in 2016. In 2018, the number of votes the BJP will need per candidate is 35 votes. If the BJP gets 70 seats, it will get 2, if it gets 105 seats, it will get 3, and if it gets 140 seats, then the BJP is assured of getting 4 seats of the 6. Getting 175 is virtually impossible. Even in the best case, the BJP can expect to get 4 of the 6 seats in the Rajya Sabha in 2018. Assuming the best case, we can say that the BJP gets 7 seats from Bihar before 2019. The BJP already holds 2, so the best case for the BJP is a net gain of 5. Net change for BJP in best case=+5.

Current Status: There are 3 members due to retire before 2019 (2 in 2016, and 1 in 2018). Of the 2 retiring in 2016, one is from the Congress, and one from the BJP. The number of seats needed to elect a member in 2016 is 31, so both parties will retain their seats. The one retiring in 2018 is from the BJP, and the BJP will retain this seat (number of votes needed for this one is 46). Net change for the BJP=0.

Current Status: There is 1 member due to retire in 2017. He is from the Congress. The BJP is currently in power in Goa, but the Goa Assembly term will have run out before the retirement of the present member in the Rajya Sabha. If the BJP retains power in Goa (as it should, given that Manohar Parrikar is very popular), it will take the seat. Otherwise, there will be no change. Net change in the best case=+1.

Current Status: There are 7 members due to retire before 2019 (3 in 2017, 4 in 2018). Of the 3 retiring in 2017, 2 are from the BJP and 1 from the Congress. The number of votes needed to ensure the victory of a candidate is 46. Therefore, the current status will continue in 2017, with both the Congress and the BJP retaining their seats. Of the 4 retiring in 2018, 3 are from the BJP and 1 from the Congress. But by 2018, the current Assembly’s term will have run out. The number of votes needed to ensure the victory of a nominee in 2018 will be 37. As long as the BJP can maintain its current strength, the BJP will retain its seats in Gujarat. However, taking all 4 in Gujarat will require a strength of 148, which is well above what the BJP has ever had. Consequently, the BJP might at best, retain its strength. Net change in best case for BJP by 2019=0.

Current status: There are 3 members scheduled to retire in Haryana, but there is a vacancy currently available. Two members (including the one who will be elected now to fill the vacancy) will be due to retire in 2016, and another member is due to retire in 2018. The immediate vacancy can be filled up with a BJP member immediately, and the other person retiring in 2016 is from the INLD. The number of seats required to win a Rajya Sabha seat in Haryana is 31 in 2016, and 46 in 2018. Given that the BJP has a strength of only 47 and that the INLD and the Congress have 34, it is hard to see the BJP take both in Haryana in 2016. The person retiring in 2018 is from the Congress. So, the BJP is likely to gain 1 immediately, and another 1 in 2018. Net gain by 2019 for the BJP=+2.

Himachal Pradesh:
Current Status: There are 2 members due to retire before 2019, 1 in 2016, and 1 in 2018. Both members due to retire are from the BJP. The BJP is sure to lose the seat it held in 2016 since the Congress is in government there, and unless it can come back to power in 2017 (very possible), will lose the other too. Best case scenario for the BJP by 2019=-1.

Jammu & Kashmir:
Current Status: There are 4 members due to retire by 2015. 2 are from the Congress, and 2 from the National Conference. The number of seats needed to ensure the election of a Rajya Sabha member from Kashmir is 18. The current Assembly’s term will have run out by 2015, and the BJP is almost certain to increase its strength from 11 in the current Assembly. It will be interesting to see if they can reach the magic figure of 36 to get 2 seats (getting 54 seats in Kashmir is impossible for the BJP). If they do (and there is a distant chance they might be able to do it), then the BJP will have gained 2 seats. If not, at least 1 seat is almost certain for the BJP. Best case scenario for the BJP before 2019=+2.

Current Status: There are 4 members due to retire by 2019 (2 in 2016, and 2 in 2018). Of the 2 due to retire in 2016, 1 is from the Congress and 1 from the JMM. The current Assembly’s term is due to run out later this year, so the next Assembly will decide the fates of the incumbents. The BJP is certain to increase its strength from the current 18. The number of votes needed to win a Rajya Sabha berth is 28. The BJP is likely to muster that number easily. Whether it can bag both seats (it is quite possible for the BJP to win 56 seats, given the dismal state its opposition is in) remains to be seen. Of the members due to retire in 2018, there is 1 from the Congress, and 1 from the JMM. If the BJP wins both seats in 2016, it will repeat that performance in 2018. In the best case, the BJP can expect to bag all 4 seats from Jharkhand. Net gain in the best case for the BJP by 2019=+4.

Current Status: There are 8 members due to retire by 2019 (4 in 2016, and 4 in 2018). Of the ones due to retire in 2016, BJP holds 2 seats, 1 seat is held by an independent, and 1 more by the Congress. 45 votes are needed to win a seat in Karnataka. The BJP currently has only 49 members in the Assembly, and consequently, can win only 1 seat. It will lose a seat in 2016. Similarly, the BJP has 2 of the 4 members due to retire in 2018, and can only retain 1 of the 2 seats. Consequently, the net change for the BJP by 2019=-2.

Current status: BJP has nothing, and will get nothing. If BJP can actually manage to get into double digits in the Kerala Assembly in 2016, I will throw a party.

Madhya Pradesh:
Current Status: There are 8 members due to retire by 2019 (3 in 2016, and 5 in 2018). Of the 3 due to retire in 2016, 2 are from the BJP, and 1 from the Congress. The number of seats needed to secure a berth in the Rajya Sabha is 58. The BJP currently has a strength of 165, there are 3 independents and 4 belonging to the BSP, which leads to a strength of 172. The Congress has a strength of 58. If the BJP can ensure 2 more victories in the by-polls, they can bag all the 3 seats. If not, the current 2 for the BJP and 1 for the Congress will be retained. But given that there is only 1 year left and the BSP members are as likely to vote for the Congress as not, it may well be safe to assume that the present standing will be maintained in the Rajya Sabha in 2016. In the best case for the BJP, it will gain 1, else it will remain status quo. In 2018, there are 5 members retiring, so the number of seats required to win a berth is 39. Given that the Congress has only 58 seats, it is likely that the BJP will retain its 4, and the Congress its 1. Net change in the best case for the BJP by 2019=+1.

Current Status: There are 12 members scheduled to retire by 2019 (6 in 2016, and 6 in 2018). Of the 6 scheduled to retire in 2016, 2 are from the Congress, 2 are from the NCP, 1 is from the BJP and 1 from the Shiv Sena. 42 seats are required to win a seat in Maharashtra in 2016, so the BJP with its current tally of 123 should be able to get 3 independents to vote with it, and win 3 seats. If it allies with the Shiv Sena, it should be able to win 4 easily. This means a net gain of 2. Of the 6 who are scheduled to retire in 2018, 2 are from the Congress, 2 are from the NCP, 1 from the Shiv Sena and 1 from the BJP. A similar figure as in the previous case should occur in Maharashtra too, so the BJP should be able to win 3 seats, and the Shiv Sena 1. Net change for the BJP by 2019=+4.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, and is most unlikely to get anything.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, and is most unlikely to get anything.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, and is most unlikely to get anything.

Current Status: The lone seat is held by the NPF, and will be retained by it.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, and is most unlikely to get anything.

Current Status: All 7 seats of Punjab are up for re-election in 2016. The number of seats needed to win a Rajya Sabha berth in Punjab is 15. Currently, 3 are held by the SAD, 1 by the BJP and 3 by the Congress. The current composition of the Assembly indicates that the same arrangement will continue. Net change for the BJP=0.

Current Status: There are 7 seats that are scheduled for re-election by 2019 (4 in 2016, and 3 in 2018). Of the 4 that are up for re-election in 2016, 2 are held by the Congress, and 2 by the BJP (Ram Jethmalani is an independent who is elected with the backing of the BJP). The number of seats that are required for a Rajya Sabha berth in 2016 is 41. The BJP has 160 seats, and has the support of a number of independents. The BJP should be able to take all the 4 in 2016. Of the 3 scheduled to retire in 2018, 2 are from the Congress and 1 from the BJP. The number of seats needed for a Rajya Sabha berth in 2018 are 51. With the BJP having 160 seats, it should be able to easily take all the 3 seats in 2018, netting a gain of 2. Net change for the BJP by 2019=+4.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, but can possibly get the SDF into an alliance in the state. The SDF, which should take the RS seat when it comes up for re-election in 2018, faces no problems joining the BJP if need be.

Tamil Nadu:
Current status: There are 6 members are scheduled for re-election by 2019 (all 6 in 2016, after the new Assembly poll). Of the 6 whose re-elections are due, 3 are held by the AIADMK, 2 by the DMK and 1 by the Congress. The number of seats needed to win a Rajya Sabha poll in Tamil Nadu in 2016 is 34. It is most unlikely that the NDA can win 34 seats in Tamil Nadu in 2016 Assembly polls, unless there is a miracle from heaven. I will be delighted if the BJP gets into the 2 figures in Tamil Nadu. Unless there is a miracle from heaven, there will be no change for the BJP. Net change for the BJP in the best (honestly, hilariously optimistic case) for Tamil Nadu=+1.

Current Status: There are 5 members scheduled to face re-election by 2019 (2 in 2016, and 3 in 2018). Of the 2 who are scheduled to face re-election in 2016, 1 is from the Congress and 1 from the TDP. 40 seats are required to win a Rajya Sabha election in 2016, so the TRS is likely to take both seats. The TDP will lose its seat. Of the 3 who are scheduled to face re-election in 2018, there are 2 from the Congress, and 1 from the TDP. The number of seats needed to win a Rajya Sabha seat in 2018 is 30, so, given the understanding between the Congress and the TRS, the TRS will likely bag 2 seats, and the Congress 1. Net change for the NDA by 2019=-2.

Current Status: The BJP has nothing, and will get nothing. The party barely exists in Tripura.

Current Status: There are 3 seats up for re-election by 2019, 1 in 2014, 1 in 2016, and 1 in 2018. Given that the Congress will be in power till at least early 2017, the Congress will gain 2, at least. If the BJP comes to power in early 2017, it can take the seat in 2018. Currently, 1 seat in Uttarakhand is vacant, 1 is with the BJP (coming up for election in 2016) and 1 is with the Congress (coming up for re-election in 2018). Net change for the BJP in the best case=0.

Uttar Pradesh:
Current Status: There are 31 members are scheduled to retire before 2019 (10 in 2014, 11 in 2016, and 10 in 2018). Of the 10 scheduled to retire in 2014, 6 are from the BSP, 2 are independents, 1 is from the BJP, and 1 is from the SP. 37 seats are required to win a Rajya Sabha seat from UP in 2014. The BJP has 38 seats currently in the UP Assembly, so the BJP is well poised to retain its seat. In 2016, out of the 11 seats, the BSP currently holds 6, the SP 3, the BJP 1, and the Congress 1. 34 seats are required to win a Rajya Sabha berth in 2016, so the BJP is poised to once more retain its own seat. In 2018, of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats at stake, the SP holds 6, the BSP 2, the BJP 1, and the Congress 1. Again, 37 seats are required to win a Rajya Sabha seat. It is here that the BJP can make great progress. If the BJP wins a majority in the next Assembly in UP (quite possible, by the way), it can take 6 of the Rajya Sabha seats with 212 seats in the next Assembly. If the BJP gets 250 of the 403 seats, it will take 7 seats. Expecting more than 250 is too ambitious, even by Modi standards in UP. Net change in the best case for the BJP in UP by 2019=+6.

West Bengal:
Current Status: 11 seats are coming up for re-election by 2019 (6 in 2017, and 5 in 2018). Of the 6 seats coming up for re-election in 2017, 4 are held by the TMC, 1 by the Congress, and 1 by the CPM. The number of seats needed to win a Rajya Sabha berth in 2017 is 43. The BJP has been showing great promise in West Bengal. Assuming that the BJP gets 43 seats in the next WB Assembly election, it is possible to get 1 seat. Similarly, in 2018, the number of seats needed to win a Rajya Sabha seat will be 50. Of the 5 seats up for re-election in 2018, 4 are held by the TMC and 1 by the CPM. If the BJP gets 50 seats, then it can get 1 seat. This would be a best case scenario. Net change for the BJP in the best case in West Bengal by 2019=+2.

National Capital Territory of Delhi:
Current Status: There are 3 seats coming up for re-election in 2018. All 3 are held by the Congress. The number of seats needed to win the Rajya Sabha poll in 2018 in Delhi are 18. Assuming that the BJP can get 36 seats in the coming Assembly elections in Delhi, it can win 2 of the 3 seats. Net change for the BJP in the best case for 2019=+2.

Edited: Delhi apparently gives all 3 Rajya Sabha seats to the winner in the Assembly elections. So, if BJP forms the government in Delhi, it is likely to get all 3 seats, not 2 as predicted above. (This was pointed out by an observant reader, Karan. Thanks to him.)

Current Status: There is 1 seat coming up for re-election in 2015, and it is held by the Congress. But considering that Pondicherry has been ruled by an NDA constituent, the NDA can expect to win this seat. Net change by 2019 for the BJP=+1.

There are 11 nominated seats who will have to be replaced (2 in 2015, 5 in 2016, and 4 in 2018). All of them, one assumes, will be replaced by BJP friendly people. Net change by 2019 for BJP=+11.

Adding up all the best cases for the BJP (a hilariously optimistic prediction), we get the following changes. 2 in Andhra Pradesh, 5 in Bihar, 1 in Goa, 2 in Haryana, -1 in Himachal Pradesh, 2 in Jammu and Kashmir, 4 in Jharkhand, -2 in Karnataka, 1 in Madhya Pradesh, 4 in Maharashtra, 4 in Rajasthan, 1 in Tamil Nadu, -2 in Telangana, 6 in Uttar Pradesh, 2 in West Bengal, 3 in Delhi, and 1 in Pondicherry. Apart from that, there will be 11 Nominated members sympathetic to the BJP. This brings the NDA tally to 32 bonus members for the NDA and 11 nominated members who are sympathetic. This basically means that the NDA, which currently has a strength of 61 at the current moment (including sympathetic independents), will have a tally of 94 by the end of the term. If one adds the 11 Nominated members, the NDA will have 105 members working for it. The majority needed for the NDA in the Rajya Sabha is 123. Even at the end of the term, with all the sympathetic Independents and Nominated members, the NDA will still not have a majority.

BJP Prospects in the Haryana Assembly Elections – an Overview


BJP has been traditionally weak in Haryana, and it has only started growing now (after the arrival of Modi in September 2013). The best that the BJP has managed on its own (without alliance with either Bansi Lal or Devi Lal/Om Prakash Chauthala) has never crossed single digits in number of seats, and never had more than 14% of the vote, until the arrival of Modi started changing the BJP in the middle of 2013. The consequences of the way the BJP neglected the organisation for alliances with Chauthala/Bansi Lal from the 80s is going to cost the BJP dearly. Also, they refused to build good leaders in the state. After the retirement of Fateh Chand Vij (who built the grassroot organisation in Haryana), the way the BJP treated Suraj Bhan was criminal. Sushma Swaraj, its best face in Haryana, never grew into a local leader. Whether it was due to the BJP bowing to the wishes of the clan Chauthala, or whether it was because of her own reluctance to stay in Haryana after a series of setbacks against Congress stalwarts like Chiranji Lal Sharma, the result remains the same.

The BJP organisation has been growing since September 2013, but the growth has been mainly due to lateral infusion of cadre and mid-level leaders from the INC, and particularly the INLD. Growth has not been structured, the newcomers have not been fully integrated into the party set up. `The Chinese maal’, as Cong. MP Deepinder Singh Hooda contemptuously called the defectors to BJP, remain of suspect quality. Chaos still prevails, and the BJP organisation, such as it is, is not in a position to take on the well oiled machinery of the Congress or the INLD fully. Both the Cong. and the INLD have superb organisations, and are more rooted, with good connections to the establishment on the ground.

The BJP is still called Bina Jat Party (Party Without Jats) for good reasons. It is all but impossible to win Haryana without Jats (some support, or at least a passive acquiescence), and the BJP has very little support among them. Capt. Abhimanyu Singh and Om Prakash Dhankar are the best bet for the BJP, but they are nowhere nearly a match for the established Jats of INLD/Cong. Only a few Cong. defectors like Chaudhary Birender Singh are really well established, but they have their own baggage. After the victory in LS 2014, the BJP has been getting a lot of cadres from the INLD and the Cong (many are giving up hope that the Chauthala clan will ever rise again – if INLD fails to get CM-giri now, expect the phenomenon to intensify, and by 2019, there will be no INLD left), but the loyalty and ideology of these characters remains to be tested. The man who changed his coat once will do it a second time. Many of them are just hedging their bets, trying to ride the Modi popularity. If the BJP fails to deliver on their ambitions, expect another churning.

Most vitally, the BJP has no good (or even decent) CM face, and this going to cost the BJP big time. People voted for Modi in LS 2014, and Modi is not in the race for the CM post of Haryana. Even today, both the Chauthala clan and Cong. leaders are far more popular as CM candidates than anyone the local BJP can throw into the ring. With senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj showing no inclination to become CM candidate in Haryana, the BJP’s leaders are all green and untested men. This is not to say that they are lacking in ability or charisma – just that they have far less popularity and visibility at the moment. The other interesting option would have been Gen. V K Singh – a man whose stature and reputation for incorruptibility is derived from other sources, and a man whose vote gathering ability may also transcend caste lines, since his USP is different from the regular crop of politicians. However, as far as the author nows, the BJP is not proposing to make him the CM candidate. Also, he is not well connected with the cadre, as he is a newcomer. His elevation to CM-candidacy just a few months after his induction may not go well with the old-timers whose CM ambitions he will have thwarted. The other option of the BJP to promote Congress defectors like Rao Inderjit Singh or Chaudhary Birender Singh may not go down well with the old timers.

One word about the collapse of the BJP-HJC alliance, which swept the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014, is in order. The BJP and the HJC share the same voter base, especially, the rural OBCs. It was the rural OBCs, particularly the Bishnois and a few Punjabi OBCs that constituted the mainstay of HJC. If this bunch dumps HJC, it will move to the BJP. Both the Congress and the INLD are now `Jat’ parties now, and BSP is a Dalit/urban poor party. It is the BJP and the HJC that are the OBC parties in Haryana. However, there is one catch. Bhajan Lal is still popular among the older OBC folk – he gave them social acceptability and upward mobility in a way no one else did. Also, the HJC still has some decent local faces in Hissar and Karnal districts. Their vote is unlikely to migrate en masse to the BJP. Further, at the time of writing, the HJC was considering going into an alliance with the Congress. If that happens, expect the BJP to be hurt badly. The Cong. organisation can take advantage of the sense of betrayal the Bishnois have been feeling when the BJP left their leader out in the cold. The break up of the alliance with the HJC will hit the BJP, no matter whether the HJC allies with the Congress or not.

Regional analysis of the BJP chances:
The BJP is reasonably strong in Ambala&Karnal regions, though I am unsure how strong they are in Kurukshetra (Kurukshetra region is dominated by Punjabi OBCs, and has its own dynamics, and Naveen Jindal of the Congress, though weakened, is still powerful here. Further, the BJP never had an organisation here – first, it was Om Prakash Jindal of the erstwhile HVP who held sway here, then it was the assorted regional satraps of the INLD like Prof. Kailasho Devi who ruled). In Ambala, the BJP organisation nurtured by Suraj Bhan should stand it in very good stead. The BJP had a 15-20% vote base in the Ambala and slightly lower vote base in Karnal, and with the current sentiment, the BJP should do well here. However, in Karnal, the break of alliance with the HJC might boomerang on the party. There is still a small bunch of Bhajan Lal loyalists (Bhajan Lal used to win LS polls from here, in the 90s, early 2000s). HJC vote is not more than 5-10%, but maybe enough to destroy the BJP chances, particularly in the rural seats like Israna, Assandh, etc. In the 25-30 seats of the region, the BJP had best hope to make some big gains.

The BJP is weak in the Central-Western Jat belt. Here is where BJP had better pray that people like Dhankar, or Chaudhary Birender Singh, or Sangwan, or Abhimanyu Singh deliver the party something. Otherwise, in this big region of some 30 seats, the BJP will hit close to a duck. This region will see Jats battling Jats, in mostly Cong. vs INLD battles. The BJP may put up a good fight in a number of constituencies due to higher visibility of its established cadre thanks to the victory in May 2014, or due to newly recruited defectors from Cong./INLD. Still, the BJP is not in a position to do very well in this region.

In the northwest, Hissar and Sirsa, the party has no organisation, and is based completely on candidate charisma. From the old days, the BJP had always left this region to the allies, and consequently, had no ground level cadre at all. Also, Hissar is the region where HJC has some influence, around Adampur, and the INLD is still strong in Sirsa (this is Chauthalas home district). So – in this region, the fights will be likely between the Congress and the INLD/HJC. Whatever the BJP gets here is bonus. Finally, by burning the bridges with the Bishnois, the BJP may just have shot itself in the foot.

In the southern belt (Ahirwali), except for the Mewat district (which is totally Muslim), the BJP is reasonably strong. The Gurgaon-Faridabad-Bhiwani districts should yield the BJP some rich gains. However, there is a catch. Plenty of people here are Congress defectors. While they may win seats, they are not savoury folk by any stretch of imagination. Keeping the Rao Inderjit Singhs happy is not easy, and what the BJP does to keep them in check is going to be interesting to see. Anyway, it is these 20 seats that will yield the best result to the BJP, most likely.

All in all, I am not at all certain that the BJP will form the government, or even be the biggest party. The BJP can easily win 20-25 seats. Anything more than 30 seats will be a bonus. Both the Cong. and the INLD are still in the race (and organisationally, are much better off than the BJP). Further, both INLD and Cong. have charismatic faces and excellent local leadership throughout the state, while the BJP will be hard pressed to find good recognisable candidates in half the seats.

Fear of Modi

There is a terrible fear of Narendra Modi among opposition politicians and the guardians of Indian secularism. The fear of the liberals and secularists hardly needs an explanation – one merely needs to watch the nightly news to see the palpable terror. The explanation proferred by our liberal media is that he is a terrible threat to the secular character of the country. Under him, minority rights will be trampled, aver the ayotallahs of secularism. After all, is not Modi the diabolically clever RSS frontman who has butchered Muslim babies, bathed in their blood, and managed to escape unscathed, in despite of the best efforts of the finest secular legal luminaries? For ten years, our secular intelligentsia has hounded Modi, but to no avail. He has emerged, stronger and more powerful than ever, from each ordeal. Courts have found no evidence against him, and he has been acquitted by the supreme court of the country. The best weapons of his enemies have proved useless against him. And now the man whom they held in contempt, loathed, smeared, vilified and hounded is the Prime Minister. Consequently, the secular intelligentsia fear their actions being held against them, coming back to haunt them. Most of the journalists, telejournalists, and liberals of the page three variety are pathologically conjoined with the Cong-Communist combine. If the government under Modi were to turn hostile against them, their careers could be in jeopardy. And their financial masters won’t hesitate a second before sacrificing them to make their peace with the Modi government. So, their fear is understandable. But why do the opposition politicians fear him? After all, it is fairly commonplace for political opponents to attack each other’s policies, conduct, even character, and so forth. Also, Modi, in his latest election campaign, had shelved all contentious issues. There was no talk of the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, no talk of a uniform civil code, or repealing Article 370 of the constitution. Why, then, is it that all opposition leaders fear him?

Before we answer the question of the fear of the opposition about Narendra Modi, it is perhaps imperative to examine the nature of the Indian political system.

Nature of the Political System in India
The political system in India, in most places and for most parties, is dependent on caste/community appeasement, and patronage of one, or more sections of the society. The patronage networks range from the top to the bottom. There are a lot of stakeholders in the patronage networks, and all of them have have something to gain by their political parties coming to power, and something to lose by others coming to power. Nevertheless, while the total number of people who are involved in these patronage networks is large, it is a tiny fraction of the total population. The vote appeal of most parties is based on a crass appeal to one segment of the population. A winning combination of castes and communities underpins the electoral success of the existing political parties. If the political parties win, the castes/communities can expect to profit. This is a cold blooded division of the society into for and against camps. Developmental politics is given lip service, but the accent is on offering freebies and niceties to the targeted section/s of the society. High quality basic services are given the go by, simply because it is impossible to offer basic services like water, roads, electricity, etc, efficiently, and effectively, in this system. The tax payer pays for the patronage doled out by the political parties to their favoured constituents. This is what a colleague of mine calls the C-System.

Before we go further in analysing the differing politics of Narendra Modi, let us take a quick look at the various big parties and their electoral appeal.

Congress – A combination of left liberal elite and privileged, minorities, underprivileged and poor. The vote of the latter, where it does not favour the Congress, is bought with money.

BSP – Dalit core, with some others (Brahmins, Muslims, etc), depending on the location and time.

SP, RJD – Yadavs and Muslims

INLD, RLD – Jats + rural poor.

The factor is repeated, with appropriate regional variations, for AGP, BJD, DMK, AIADMK, TDP, TRS and nearly every political party in existence in India today. This is not to say that other parties have not contributed to the development of the states and the country. They have. Developmental politics is just not the focus of their appeal.

In short, every party depends on a specific social combination for victory. In fact, even the BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani had a very specific social combination to ensure BJP victory across the states. BJP of the 90s and 00s depended on Hindu middle classes in urban areas, and usually a combination of upper castes and OBCs in the rural regions. This underpinned the BJP caste combination, ensuring victory. In other words, Vajpayee BJP was playing by the same rules as the other parties.

However, the advent of Narendra Modi changes the entire frame of reference. His true claim to fame is not the caste, creed, community appeal of the others. His true USP is that of a no-nonsense man, who can ensure development without reference to the origin. He himself stands as a testimony to the ability of a simple tea vendor, a commoner to rise above all obstacles to become the true leader of India. He has an excellent track record of ensuring development in his state. In other words, from the networks of patronage, he changes the basis of Indian polity to development for all. This is the true reason why Narendra Modi is more popular than Mayawati among Dalits, more popular among Yadavs than Mulayam and Laloo, more popular among Jats than Hooda and Ajit Singh, more popular among Brahmins than Sushma Swaraj and C P Joshi. In one stroke, Narendra Modi threatens to make all other parties redundant or undercut their appeal massively, if he succeeds, even to an extent, in ushering in true development. Other BJP chief ministers like Raman Singh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and Manohar Parrikar, have begun to mimic him, and are becoming popular in their states. They are blowing away the opposition and the Congress (and its clones) have no answer to this change of politics. Also, there is a massive number of people whose patronage is threatened by the rise of Modi style developmental politics. Consequently, he is the Yamadoot for the C-System, which cannot handle him. He has to be stopped, and cannot be allowed to succeed. If he succeeds, he will have inevitably changed the voting patterns across the country, sending most parties to the dustbin of history.

Modi’s politics, consequently, are far more threatening than the Hindutva politics of the BJP. Hindutva was the preoccupation of the middle classes, and the richer rural folk, which had a more or less secure livelihood. Hindutva politics never inspired, except on a transitory basis, the rural poor, who had more immediate worries than whether a temple was built in Ayodhya or Muslim personal law was changed. The only worry for the other parties about the BJP was Ram wave type massive mood shifts, with mass voting for BJP, due to emotive issues. But emotive issues hit a point of diminishing returns, and this is precisely what happened to the BJP. Thus, other parties could heave a sigh of relief that the Hindutva based voting had run its course. It never threatened on a long term, their mass appeal.

Consequently, the BJP can expect all other parties to gang up on it in the coming polls. By hook or crook, the Modi brand of developmental politics has to be stopped. This is the last ditch struggle of the C-System against the meritocratic system that Modi is championing. In coming days, we are going to see former secular foes forging alliances. In fact, even some of the BJP’s own current allies have fears about him making them redundant. They may jump ship, if they sense that the secular alliance will come to power. They are far more comfortable with the caste, creed, community mobilisation politics than the developmental politics. They are sticking with Modi because they have nowhere else to go now. But for the 2019 polls, it is going to be BJP (plus whatever allies remain faithful to it) versus everyone else.

Oath Taking in Sanskrit in the 16th Lok Sabha

षोडशायाम् लोकसभायाम् संस्कृतभाषायाम् प्रमाणवचनस्वीकारः

नवनिर्वाचितलोकसभायाम् चतुस्त्रिंशत् सदस्याः संस्कृतभाषायाम् प्रमाणवचनानि स्व्यकुर्वन्। एषः संदेशः भारतीयेभ्यः हर्षं ददाति। संस्कृतभाषैका भारतीयान् एकीकर्तुम् समर्था वर्तते। त्रिसहस्रवर्षात् भारतदेशे संस्कृतभाषा सर्वप्रदेशेषु अविकृता अस्ति। सा भाषा भारतदेशे सर्वथा व्याकरणोच्यारणानि अविकृतम् असम्भरत। सर्वराज्यानां जनाः तथा संसत्सदस्याः तां भाषां व्यत्ययरहिताम् उपयोक्तुम् साध्यम्। ततः एतस्याम् निजभारतीयराष्ट्रभाषायां लोकसभासदस्यानां प्रमाणवचनस्वीकारः हर्षस्य गर्वस्य च विषयः।

In the new Lok Sabha, thirty four members took their oaths in Sanskrit. This matter is one of delight for all the Indians. Sanskrit is the only language that can unite all Indians. From three thousand years, Sanskrit has remained unchanged. This language has not changed form, grammar or intonation, or developed regional variations anywhere in India, and has remained the same throughout the country, and people and members can use the same language all over. Consequently, Lok Sabha members taking oath in this true national language is a matter of pride and joy for all Indians.

अस्यां लोकसभायां मध्यप्रदेशात् श्रीमती सुष्मा स्वराज्, सुश्री उमा भारती, श्री राकेश सिंह, श्रीमती सुमित्रा महाजन, दिल्ली उपराज्यात् डा. हर्षवर्धन, श्रीमती मीनाक्षी लेखि, श्री पार्वेश वर्मा, श्री महेश गिरि, हिमाचल प्रदेशात् श्री शान्त कुमार, श्री वीरेन्द्र कश्यप, कर्नाटक राज्यात् अनन्त कुमार हेग्गडे, झार्खंड राज्यात् श्री सुनिल् कुमार सिंह, उत्तर प्रदेशात् डा. मुरली मनोहर जोशि, श्री शरद् त्रिपाठी, श्री सत्यपाल सिंह, श्री साक्षी महाराज, श्री राजेश पान्डे, डा. महेन्द्रनाथ पान्डे, श्री छोटे लाल, श्री महेश शर्मा, श्री राजेन्द्र अगर्वाल, श्री जगदंबिका पाल, श्री वीरेन्द्र सिंह, बिहार राज्यात् श्री अश्विनी कुमार चौबे, श्री ॐ प्रकाश यादव, गुजरात् राज्यात् देवुसिंह चौहाण, महाराष्ट्र राज्यात् श्री दिलीप गांधि, राजास्थान राज्यात् श्री रामचरण बोहार, श्री चंद्रप्रकाश जोशि, श्री गजेन्द्रसिंह शिखावत् उत्तरखंड राज्यात् भगत् कोशियारि, तथा पश्चिम बंगाल राज्यात् श्री अहलुवालिया नवलोकसभायां संस्कृतभाषायां प्रमाणवचनं स्व्यकुर्वन्। तेभ्यः सदस्येभ्यः अहं वन्दानानि अभिनन्दनानि च प्रेषितुमिच्छामि। भारतीय जनतापक्षः तस्य सदस्यान् संस्कृतभाषायाम् प्रमाणवचनानि स्वीकर्तुम् उत्तेजयति स्म। तं दृष्ट्वा अहं संतुष्टः अस्मि तथा भारतीय जनतापक्षायापि मम वन्दनानि अभिनन्दनानि प्रेषयामि।

In the new Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Su.Shree. Uma Bharati, Shree. Rakesh Singh, and Smt. Sumitra Mahajan from Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Harshvardhan, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Shree Parvesh Verma, and Shree Mahesh Giri from Delhi, Shree Shanta Kumar, and Shree Veerendra Kashyap from Himachal Pradesh, Shree Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka, Shree Sunil Kumar Singh from Jharkhand, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Shree Sharad Tripathi, Shree Satyapal Singh, Shree Sakshi Maharaj, Shree Rajesh Pandey, Dr. Mahendranath Pandey, Shree Chhote Lal, Shree Mahesh Sharma, Shree Jagadambika Pal, Shree Rajendra Agarwal, and Shree Veerendra Singh from Uttar Pradesh, Shree Ashwini Kumar Chaubey and Shree Om Prakash Yadav from Bihar, Shree Devusingh Chauhan from Gujarat, Shree Dileep Gandhi from Maharashtra, Shree Ramcharan Bohara, Shree Chandraprakash Joshi and Shree Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan, Shree Bhagat Koshiyari from Uttarakhand, and Shree Ahluwalia from West Bengal took their oaths in Sanskrit. I wish to convery my respectful regards and congratulations to these members.The BJP has been encouraging its members to take their oaths in Sanskrit. I am delighed at the development and wish to salute and congratulate the BJP as well.

तदपरं, नवीयस्, संसदि तथा राज्याणां सभास्वपि सदस्याः संस्कृत भाषायां प्रमाणवचनानि स्वीकुर्वन्ति। एषु दिनेषु, कर्नाटकराज्यस्य विधानपरिषद्यपि श्री भानुप्रकाशः संस्कृतभाषायां प्रमाणवचनं अशपत। एतत् सर्वं भारतीयेभ्यः संस्कृतभाषायाः गुरुतां दर्शयति। अहम् आगामिदिनेषु संस्कृतभाषां संसदि सदस्याः तेषाम् भाषणेषु प्रश्नेषु उपयुज्यन्तेति आशंसे।

Apart from that, recently, in both Parliament and State Assemblies, members have been taking their oaths in Sanskrit. Recently, Shree Bhanu Prakash took his oath in the Karnataka Legislative Council in Sanskrit. All these show the importance of Sanskrit to Indians. I hope that, in the coming days, the Members of Parliament will employ Sanskrit in their speeches and questions.

काश्चित् सदस्याः प्रमाणवचनस्वीकारकाले तासाम् प्रमाणवचनानि अन्यलिङ्गे अशपन्त। सर्वाणि प्रमाणवचनानि भारतीय जनतापक्षस्य प्रमुखः तथा राज्यसभासदस्यः च तरुण विजयस्य प्रमाणवचनम् अनुसरन्तीत्यहम् शङ्के। ततः संस्कृतभाषायां प्रमाणवचनं पुल्लिङ्गे वर्तते। तदर्थं स्त्रीसदस्याः तत् प्रमाणवचनं स्वलिङ्गे परिवृत्य प्रमाणवचनं स्वीकुर्वन्तु इत्यहं नम्रतया साकम् प्रार्थये। तत् परिवर्तनम् उचितं भविष्यतीत्यहम् मन्ये।

Some members took their oaths in the wrong gender. I suspect that all the oaths were based on the oath taken by senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member, Shree Tarun Vijay. Consequently, all oaths were in masculine gender. Therefore, I humbly request that all the female members change the oaths into feminine form. The feminine form of the oath would be ideal for the female members, in my opinion.

पुल्लिङ्गे प्रमाणवचनं एतस्मिन् प्रकारे वर्तते।

अहं, <नामधेयं अत्र>, लोकसभायाः सदस्यत्वेन निर्वाचितः, निश्चये परमेश्वरस्य नाम्ना शपे यत् अहं विधिना स्थापितं भारतस्य संविधानं प्रति सत्यं श्रद्धां निष्ठां च धारयिष्ये। ततः भारतस्य संपूर्णप्रभुत्वसंपन्नताम् अखण्डतां च अक्षुण्णां रक्षिष्यामि। तथा यत् पदं गृहीतुम् उद्यतः अस्मि, अहं तस्य कर्तव्यानि श्रद्धापूर्वकं निर्वक्ष्यामि।

The masculine form of the oath reads as follows:

I <insert name here>, elected to the Lok Sabha, swear in the name of Ishwara that I shall bear true, single-minded allegiance to the Constitution of the country. I shall strive to protect the sovereignity and integrity of the country. And I shall discharge my duties with the utmost dedication and sincerity.

तथा प्रमाणवचने सदस्याः `सत्याम् श्रद्धाम्इत्यवदन्। तत् वाक्यम् `सत्यम् श्रद्धाम्स्यात् इत्यहं शङ्के। सत्यं नपुंसकलिङ्गपदमित्यहं मन्ये।

Some members, in their oath statements’ used the words `सत्याम् श्रद्धाम्‘. The statement should read as `सत्यम् श्रद्धाम्‘, I think. The word `सत्यम्‘ is in neuter gender in Sanskrit, I think.

स्त्रीलिङ्गे प्रमाणवचनं एतस्मिन् प्रकारे परिवर्तते

अहं, <नामधेया अत्र>, लोकसभायाः सदस्यत्वेन निर्वाचिता, निश्चये परमेश्वरस्य नाम्ना शपे यत् अहं विधिना स्थापितं भारतस्य संविधानं प्रति सत्यं श्रद्धां निष्ठां च धारयिष्ये। ततः भारतस्य संपूर्णप्रभुत्वसंपन्नताम् अखण्डतां च अक्षुण्णां रक्षिष्यामि। तथा यत् पदं गृहीतुम् उद्यता अस्मि, अहं तस्य कर्तव्यानि श्रद्धापूर्वकं निर्वक्ष्यामि।

The feminine form of the oath statement should read as below

(In English, there is no change between the masculine and feminine forms, so the oath has not been repeated in English)

PS:  If I have missed out any names, please do correct me and I shall add the names.  The English translation for each paragraph in Sanskrit is below it.  All comments and criticisms are welcome.