Christophe Jaffrelot (for Info only, not official)

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Christophe Jaffrelot

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    ... “Bharat vs India”, a phrase coined by Charan Singh to describe the conflict between villages and cities, remains relevant. This is evident from the Kisan Sansad (farmers’ parliament) that met in Delhi last month. More than 40,000 peasants belonging to 180 farmers’ organisations came together to form the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC). Rural India has lagged behind the cities since the 1991 economic reforms. According to the National Sample Survey, the average Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) in 1993-94 was Rs 281 in rural India and Rs 458 in urban India. It rose to Rs 772 (up 174 per cent) and Rs 1,472 (up 221 per cent) for rural and urban India respectively in 2007-08, which means that the gap between rural and urban jumped from 63 to 91 percentage points. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 8, 2017, 1 a.m.

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    ... For the first time since 2002, the BJP’s supporters, including the Patels, have criticised the party’s rule in Gujarat because of its economic performance. The urban youth resent that the number of educated-unemployed — 6.12 lakh in 2016 — has increased and the farmers argue that their daily income — Rs 264 in 2016 — is Rs 77 less than the national average. This attitude has been precipitated by the impact of demonetisation and GST but it is also the legacy of policies harking back to the early days of BJP rule in the state, which were designed for big corporate houses. The industrial policy of 2003 is a case in point. A large number of industries were exempted from obtaining no-objection certificates from the Pollution Control Board and the release of agricultural land for industrial use was made easier. In 2004, the state assembly passed the Gujarat Special Economic Zones Act that made land acquisition easier and labour laws less strict. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 20, 2017, 12:03 a.m.

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    ... The Sangh Parivar has been articulating two different discourses about Kashmir since August. In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that he wanted to deal with Kashmiris, “not through insults or bullets, but by embracing” them. During a visit to Srinagar in September, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he aspired to turn Kashmir into a “heaven again”. Singh added that he wanted for Kashmir a, “permanent solution based on five Cs — compassion, communication, co-existence, confidence-building and consistency”. The home minister insisted that his government had no intention to amend Article 35 A of the Constitution. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 7, 2017, 12:30 a.m.

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    ... Given the association of the prime minister with Gujarat, the coming elections in the state will be an important test for his government. While demonetisation and the GST have destabilised the local businessmen, the group the BJP has probably alienated the most is the Patels. After the repression of the movement led by Hardik Patel in the name of reservations in August 2015, the Gujarat government has not found any agreement with the most active Patel organisations, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti and the Sardar Patel Group. On the contrary, in the context of what looks like a tug of war, young Patels, in September 2016, prevented Amit Shah from addressing a rally organised by the BJP to honour the Patel ministers in the then new government led by Vijay Rupani. On September 12, PAAS activists clashed with the BJP Yuva Morcha in Surat again. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 25, 2017, 6:15 a.m.

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    ...Gujarat is probably the Indian state where turncoats play structurally the most significant part, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. There are few states where not only Congressmen and women defect to the BJP in such large numbers, but the party’s prominent leaders too, as is evident from the recent shift of the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Shankersinh Vaghela. Certainly, Vaghela has not rejoined the BJP yet, but he voted for the BJP candidate against Ahmed Patel during the last Rajya Sabha elections. In fact, the movements of Vaghela reflect the porosity between the Congress and BJP in Gujarat. Indeed, Vaghela defected first to the Congress. After the BJP’s 1995 electoral success, Keshubhai Patel and Vaghela were locked in a fierce rivalry for the post of chief minister. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 5, 2017, 12:03 a.m.

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    ... Several lessons can be drawn from the stand-off between India and China in Doklam. First, it was the first time that India deployed troops — even in the hundreds — on the Chinese border after a third party asked for help. Second, while such stand-offs have multiplied recently, it was by far the longest one — about 10 weeks — suggesting that there was much at stake on both sides and that the mechanisms of border dispute resolution were not as effective as they used to be, or not even relevant in such a case. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 12, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ... Several lessons can be drawn from the stand-off between India and China in Doklam. First, it was the first time that India deployed troops — even in the hundreds — on the Chinese border after a third party asked for help. Second, while such stand-offs have multiplied recently, it was by far the longest one — about 10 weeks — suggesting that there was much at stake on both sides and that the mechanisms of border dispute resolution were not as effective as they used to be, or not even relevant in such a case. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 12, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ... In April, the government of India proposed amendments to the RTI Act, one of the most empowering pieces of legislation inherited from the UPA era. The most controversial amendment pertained to Rule 12. It would allow the withdrawal of an application in case of the applicant’s death, making the job of those who file RTIs even more risky. The RTI activists are already exposed to violence, all the more so as the Whistle Blowers Protection Act (2011) is not implemented. Sixty-nine activists have been killed, according to the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. Besides, the NCPRI presents on its website the case of 130 RTI activists who have been victims of assault and 170 others who are victims of harrassment. Of the 268 cases whose location is known, 100 belong to rural India, a clear sign that the RTI has also been owned in the village. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 4, 2017, 12:05 a.m.