Dilli Billi

Rout in Rajasthan - Congress in panic mode

While television studio warriors and Twitter commandos go on and on debating the impact of the recent state elections in north India and whether these will be relevant to the Lok Sabha contest in April-May 2014, Dilli Billi decided to do some number crunching. We began with Rajasthan. This state sent a number of Congress stalwarts, including high-profile ministers, to Parliament in

   
 
   

The Tehelka Conundrum - King of stings, stung by scandal

With the resignation of Shoma Chaudhury, the curtains have all but come down on Tehelka. Along with her boss, friend, mentor and comrade, the now-disgraced Tarun Tejpal, Shoma was the face of Tehelka and of its Think Fest in Goa. This event was a narcissistic exposition of the self-importance of the duo – all other Tehelka employees were kept off the stage and out of the limelight – and also their occasion to party with their friends at the

   
 
   

The Great Indian Political Jigsaw

For all its bravado, the Congress is running scared in the Hindi heartland and especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. While it has been out of contention in Bihar for decades now, in UP it won 22 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 and was hoping for an even bigger tally in 2014. This is unlikely to happen and internal estimates are now giving the Congress no more than three or four seats in UP. As for Bihar, only Meira Kumar’s

   
 
   

All the latest gup shup from Dilli Billi

I have 9 lives. You know that, right? In fact, 9 is my lucky number. 'Feline fetish' some might call it. Since I am so simply obsessed with the number between 8 and 10, let me give you 9 pieces of catty chat which did not make the headlines last week. Fast forward then, no paws (sorry, pause)! :: 1. The business head of the world's largest English newspaper wrote a scathing article against NaMo on the editorial pages of the venerable daily. Flutter, flutter! Did he really write the article or was it ghost written by

   
 
   

Rahul's Sixer, PM Stumped

What explained Rahul Gandhi’s outburst against the ordinance giving protection to MPs convicted of crimes? The manner in which Rahul burst into a media conference being addressed by Congress MP and spokesperson Ajay Maken, and then contradicted what Maken had been saying, surprised his party colleagues. Rumours ran thick and fast in Lutyens’ Delhi that Rahul had had a fight with his mother, Sonia Gandhi, and this explained his anger at the media meet. So were there disagreements on the ordinance between mother and

   
 
   

Paid Pipers & Fake Polls

In November, Delhi votes in its fifth legislative assembly election. While this is one of five state elections that are taking place simultaneously – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram being the others – the Delhi contest is attracting extraordinary attention. How seriously does one take the series of opinion polls – one a day, it seems – that are coming out of the woodwork in Delhi? Every television channel, publication, political analyst and self-styled psephologist seems to have

   
 
   

Tug-Of-War for Delhi Durbar

In November, Delhi votes in its fifth legislative assembly election. While this is one of five state elections that are taking place simultaneously – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram being the others – the Delhi contest is attracting extraordinary attention. This is not surprising. As the national capital, as a top-drawer urban centre, home to India’s power and media elite, and as a small city-state with a bitterly contested polity, Delhi is

   
 
   

Dinner with the Gujarati Caesar

Everybody salutes the rising sun, or almost everybody it appears. Narendra Modi, the BJP's emergent power centre, turned up in Delhi on August 29 for dinner. He was invited to party president Rajnath Singh's house, as were other BJP MPs and functionaries. So enthralled were party MPs by the idea of dining with Modi and so worried were they about not making it in time that the BJP benches in the Lok Sabha emptied out fairly quickly. Senior MPs

   
 
   

Singh Parivar faces uncertain future

Serious politicians are getting ready for elections in 2014. The time servers and bureaucrats who surround the prime minister – and who realise they have little stake in the Congress after the next election – are busy making plans of another kind. Manmohan Singh himself is desperate for some sort of a legacy and achievement to showcase by this winter. With the economy sinking and corruption as his government's calling card, all he can hope for is

   
 
   

UPA: From crisis-to-crisis to suitcase-to-suitcase

Ever since the Bofors gun deal brought the expression "winding-up charges" into the political lexicon, the final phase of a government`s term has been seen as devoted to frenetic deal making and building of nest eggs. This summer, while the focus of the media has been elsewhere - on events from Gujarat to Bihar - the UPA government has quietly gone about its task of securing "winding-up charges"

   
 
   
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