WTF Just Happened: December 1

#1. After six straight lows, India’s quarterly GDP growth finally trended upwards to 6.3% in the quarter ending September 2017 — a significant uptick from the 5.7% the economy had registered in the previous quarter. The real silver lining is not so much the GDP number itself, but the fact that manufacturing growth accelerated as warehouses restocked after the twin disruptions of demonetization and GST implementation.

Arun Jaitley is hopeful that the impact of those two structural reforms is now “behind us and hopefully, we can look for an upward trajectory in the third and the fourth quarter.” A pragmatic, unexceptional statement from the FM, that contrasts with the chest-thumping of the BJP-leaning sections of the media, led by the usual suspect:

While on this channel (from where, last evening, I got a surprise call asking if I would be part of a panel discussion, an invitation I refused), a National Herald story points out that its lead investor, the BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, falsified information in his nomination papers at the time of his election to the Rajya Sabha. Chandrasekhar is also in some trouble in Kerala, where a resort of his has allegedly encroached on public land. That is to say, it is all business as usual.

#2. From Uttar Pradesh where civic elections are ongoing comes further evidence of EVM tampering. Like, so:

Seriously? An EVM that does not even register the candidate’s own vote on her behalf? Read that in tandem with my earlier mention of faulty EVMs. Meanwhile, on my favorite channel, the big story is that the BJP won the nagar panchayat election in Amethi, which is a “major shock” to the Congress and its heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi. Why, by that logic, the BJP’s loss in the nagar panchayat election in Goraknath, the home constituency of UP CM Adityanath, and its loss in all six nagar panchayat seats in Kaushambi, home of deputy CM Keshav Prasad, is not a “major shock” to the ruling dispensation is a question best left unasked.

Thing is, such civic polls are not referendums of either the ruling party or the opposition, so much as they are an outcome of local dissatisfactions and retail politics. But hey, we need a narrative, so… For my part, I am waiting to see the full results and the breakdown, because this:

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be closely watched as results of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls are declared on December 1. While elections to 16 nagar nigams are being held through EVMs, ballot papers are being used for simultaneous polls to 198 nagar palika parishads and 439 nagar panchayats.

#3. And finally on a somewhat busy day, three stories from the Department of Not-The-Onion, three stories:

  1. Six boxers from Haryana who won medals at the recent Youth World Championships will be awarded a cow each.
  2. The Hindu Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the RSS, will “facilitate” the marriage of young Muslim girls to their Hindu lovers in a campaign with the catchy title ‘beti bachao, bahu lao’. “The Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM),” reads the story, “said that it will start marrying close to 2,100 such couples from next week in Uttar Pradesh. The drive will continue for next six months. The group also promised to provide security, financial and social support to the newlyweds.”
  3. The winter session of Parliament has been postponed because the prime minister, the entire Union Cabinet, and most  MPs are busy campaigning in Gujarat. But that is not to say no work is getting done: tomorrow, a Parliamentary committee will meet so that Sanjay Leela Bhansali, director Padmavati, can “share his views” on the controversy surrounding the film.

4 thoughts on “WTF Just Happened: December 1

  1. Prem, I have another question to you. What can’t your articles be published in “The Hindu” or any other mainstream news outlet?

    • The reason why I asked that question is – The quality of content in your articles is WAY too high compared to anything that I see in mainstream media. I never thought that quality content would appear in mainstream media. But today was an exception, when I saw Amit Varma’s article in “The Hindu”. Hence the thought – Prem’s articles deserve to be read by MANY people, not just SELECT FEW who know “there is a blog in which Prem Panicker writes quality content”.

      • Thanks for the kind words, but where my writing appears is not in my control, no? It is the editor of a media house who decides whose writings to feature. In my case, I am too closely identified with sports writing — which is what editors reach out to me for. Not complaining — I like the freedom my blog gives me, to write what I please without worrying about editorial sensibilities. And I know that when I do write here, it gets read by far more than the subscribers, so that’s a start. I’d rather worry about what I want to say than obssess over the size of the audience, anyway.

  2. Prem, missing your blog posts for quite some time now. Just read this excellent article of Amit Varma in The Hindu. I am sure you would have already read it. What are your thoughts on it? I was thinking along similar lines when I was trying to understand how Modi wins in India (at least the second half of his article, the first half was an eye opener for me), but I don’t have enough command in any language (be it Tamil or English) to put it in words as Amit has eloquently put it.

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