NATIONAL PARTIES LOSE GROUND WHILE REGIONAL PARTIES GAIN ON 2 MAY 2021 - The Daily Guardian
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NATIONAL PARTIES LOSE GROUND WHILE REGIONAL PARTIES GAIN ON 2 MAY 2021

Whether in Bengal, Kerala or Tamil Nadu, the perception that the BJP is essentially a party of the Hindi belt worked against it, overcoming the advantage that the party had of being unapologetic about its focus on the majority community.

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The shift of majority community votes from the Congress Party to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala made the collapse of the UDF in the 2 May Assembly polls easy to predict. The Sonia Gandhi formula of consolidating minority votes and retaining enough of a minority of the votes of the majority community failed to work yet again. Its performance in Tamil Nadu has shown that the former ruling party is a liability to its electoral partners. The DMK majority would have been greater, but for its alliance with the Congress Party. But that other national party, the BJP, has reason enough to take out the worry beads. Whether in Bengal, Kerala or Tamil Nadu, the perception that the BJP is essentially a party of the Hindi belt worked against it, overcoming the advantage that the party had of being unapologetic about its focus on the majority community. The BJP stance stood in contrast to that other significant national party, the Congress, which has concentrated on the minority vote. In a country where it is important to embed a sense of common identity amongst all communities, neither approach is to be recommended, and in the just-concluded polls, neither seems to have delivered the results expected of such a strategy, except for other parties. In Kerala, the majority community moved away from the Congress Party sufficiently to cause the CPM to repeat its victory of 2016. The Marxists were assisted by the relative competence of the Pinarayi Vijayan administration, which delivered much better results during the Covid-19 catastrophe than other state governments could manage. In Bengal, the minorities knew that neither the Congress nor its partner the CPM had any chance of besting the BJP, hence a consolidation of such votes in favour of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. At the same time, the less than effective management of the Covid-19 crisis by the Union Ministry of Health dampened the ardour of many voters in Bengal, who stayed at home rather than vote for a party that they regarded as having blotted its copybook during the pandemic. The second wave that began to pick up steam in March has devastated millions of families financially and in still more tragic ways, and this has for the first time since 2013 (when he came centre stage onto the national scene) begun to tell upon the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was the misery caused by Covid-19 that brought about the 2020 defeat of President Donald J. Trump, a reminder of the importance to the Central government of dealing effectively with SARS CoV-2.

National parties having between themselves a majority in Parliament has long been regarded as desirable by political scientists, but the just concluded Assembly polls have shown that voter preferences have moved towards regional parties. Not merely that, but regional parties have been punished for aligning with one or the other of the two major national parties. Both the AIADMK as well as the DMK paid an electoral price in Tamil Nadu for allying with the BJP and Congress respectively. Whether it be in Delhi or in Bengal, the parties in power resisted such alliances, and gained as a consequence. Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi and Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata are likely to emerge as much stronger opposition voices in the tumult of democracy in India than either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul. Those within the Congress Party who sounded in the form of a letter a warning that the leadership of the party was proving to be a handicap may be having a moment of self-congratulation. The results declared on 2 May seem to have borne out their conclusions. The BJP lost the 2004 polls, as did the Congress in 2014. What will happen in 2024 depends on the lessons drawn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the poll results and the action taken by him to ensure that voter perceptions change from the dive that has been taking place. Unless present trends get reversed, the nation is on course to witness a situation in which the majority is held not by national but by regional parties. Not that this would be a catastrophe. Whether they belong to national or to regional parties, all are Indians. Even after the shocks of DeMo (demonetisation) to the informal economy or the tremors felt by the rest of the economy by the initial rollout of GST, there remained the expectation amongst voters of improved performance by the Modi government in the days ahead. The SARS CoV-2 second wave is seeing a reduction in such hopes for the first time since 2014. Reports of efforts by the police in some states to criminalise such a change in perception on the part of individual voters reacting on social media are difficult to comprehend or excuse in a democracy. Such efforts at criminalisation of a change in opinion are a sign that some aspects of the culture of the colonial past have lingered on, long after such thinking within those who govern ought to have been eliminated on 15 August 1947. Those responsible for such moves to criminalise, criminalise and criminalise normal behaviour in a democracy need to be held to account. Such views are incompatible with the basic structure of democracy, and it is welcome that the Supreme Court stepped in to ensure this.

Politicians have been used to considering that the winning of elections is the finish line, when such a victory is only the starting point. Almost as much as an improved performance by the Central government would be the performance of Chief Minister Stalin and Chief Minister Banerjee, just as the performance of Chief Minister Thackeray is the keystone of voter perceptions in Maharashtra. The BJP may have done a favour to Chief Minister Kejriwal by making the Lt-Governor of Delhi the de facto rather than merely de jure head of the administration of that state, for problems can always be laid at the door of Raj Nivas. A less than efficient performance by Mamata Banerjee will enable the BJP to retrieve ground in time for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. An unimpressive performance by Uddhav Thackeray or Stalin would enable the BJP and the AIADMK to win in 2024. More than any state poll, more than all state polls combined, it is the Lok Sabha poll that will decide the destiny of India. That the race may no longer be a done deal for the BJP is clear from 2 May 2021. This has been a year in hell for too many citizens. Politicians are expected to make things better, and unless they do, they will face the wrath of the voter on the day that all power vests with the citizens through the ballot box.

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FORMER PM MANMOHAN SINGH DOING BETTER THAN YESTERDAY: CONG

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Congress spokesperson Pranav Jha on Friday said that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is doing fine and is better than yesterday. Taking to Twitter, Jha urged all to respect the privacy of the former Prime Minister. “This is to inform that Dr Manmohan Singh ji is doing fine. He is better than yesterday. Let’s all wish him a speedy recovery. Any unfounded speculation is unnecessary and in bad taste. Also, request all to respect the Former PM’s privacy. Thank you! #HappyDussehra2021,” tweeted the Congress spokesperson.

Earlier, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), informed that Singh is stable and recovering.

Dr Singh, who was admitted to AIIMS on Wednesday, is under the observation of doctors. The eighty-nine-year-old Congress leader had complained of weakness and is stable and under the observation of doctors, hospital sources said.

Earlier in the day, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya visited the hospital to meet him.

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HERE RESOLUTION WAS TAKEN THAT NO ONE CAN KEEP INDIA AS SLAVE: SHAH VISITS CELLULAR

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Amit Shah

During his visit to the iconic Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands where Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was imprisoned, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday lauded the valour of Veer Savarkar as a ‘freedom fighter’ and said this was the place where a resolution was taken that “no one can keep Mother India as a slave”. The union minister also extended his greetings on the occasion of Dussehra. Speaking at the iconic Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Shah said, “Today is Vijayadashami. We celebrate the day of Vijayadashami as a symbol of the victory of good over evil all over India. This pilgrimage site of freedom is also a symbol of the victory of good over evil, it was here that a resolution was taken that no one can keep Mother India as a slave.”

“Savarkar turned Cellular Jail into a ‘teerthsthan’ (shrine). He gave message to world that you may mete out as much torture as you want but can’t block his rights- ‘making my country independent is my birthright’, Savarkar accomplished this here,” said Shah.

He further said, “Today, I paid tributes to the respected, well-known freedom fighter of India, Veer Savarkar ji. It gave me a sense of pride as I visited this place. Under his preachings, guidance, the Modi government has completed seven years in power and our governance model is appreciated across the world.”

“Today for the second time I have got a chance to visit the ‘teerthsthan’ (shrine) of freedom fighters.”

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Om Birla dials JEE Advance topper, congratulates him on his success

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Lok Sabha Speaker and Member of Parliament from Kota, Om Birla on Friday dialled the IIT Advanced topper, Mridul Agarwal and congratulated him on his success, according to the Office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Mridul hails from Jaipur and had prepared for the examination from a coaching institute of Kota.

Taking to Twitter, the LS Speaker said, “Congratulations Mridul Agrawal, son of Rajasthan on securing the first rank in the IIT-JEE (Adv) exam. This success is the result of his tireless hard work, prayers of parents and dedication of teachers. With this result, the coaching institutes of Kota Parliamentary Constituency once again proved their superiority, congratulations!”

Interacting with the JEE topper, Birla asked him about his future plans, to which Agrawal revealed that he aspires to do BTech from IIT Mumbai and wants to be a participant in the “Navanirman” of India.

The topper also said that he wants to study abroad and return to India to develop the technology sector of the country.

Earlier, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced results where Mridul of IIT Delhi scored top rank by obtaining 348 marks out of 360 while Kavya Chopra of IIT Delhi zone has topped in the female category with a common rank list (CRL) 98. She obtained 286 marks out of 360.

The NTA released the JEE results on the official website. A total number of 1,41,699 candidates appeared in both papers 1 and 2 in JEE (Advanced) 2021 and 41,862 candidates qualified JEE (Advanced) 2021.

In an effort to support the student community, the National Testing Agency (NTA) had organised the JEE (Main) 2021 in four sessions.

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I BROUGHT THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF FITNESS CULTURE: DR MICKEY MEHTA

In an exclusive interview with NewsX India A-List, Dr Mickey Mehta spoke about his journey as a health guru, fitness culture, life coaching, and much more.

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Dr Mickey Mehta, Author & Health Guru, recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive interview, the author spoke about his journey as a health guru, fitness culture, life coaching and much more.

Speaking about his journey till now, he said “Many years back, I would say, when I actually started in the industry, as a career, that was the year 1980, so 1980-81. That was the time that coaches and fitness trainers had no respect, and there was not any formal training or qualifications available. People would say, ‘Kya karega jake, kya uthayega?’. I would say people had very scant respect for fitness trainers and they were called bodybuilders. We were put in the category of pehlwan, pehawani. I brought the whole concept of this culture—fitness culture, wellness culture, physical culture, and culturing the body. While you culture the body, culturing of the mind comes along. It translates into culturing your emotions, your psychology, and your spirit as well. So, anything to do with exercise, anything to do with training your body, shaping your body, culturing the body, translates into awareness because you become aware of more physical parts moving. You become aware of better by-product of circulation because if you circulate well, you don’t know how many liters of blood you have pumped inside because there is a feel-good factor.”

“It is about awareness that you have heart and you have lungs. Your heart beats for good things, for creativity, for sympathy, compassion and glow. When you do a lot of exercises, vanity comes to form because there is a glow because you are circulating. There is oxygen, so radiance, vibrance, so these are the by-products of fitness and physical culture. Mindlessness is not a negative connotation here. Mindlessness is when your mind is not you are and when the mind is, you are not, so you as a spirit are absent in the presence of mind and when you as a spirit are completely present in duality, the mind is absent. Mind is a negative phenomenon because the mind only lives and comes alive, either in the past or in the future. The mind is always wandering in the past. So, fears of the past keep haunting you, the anxiety of the future keeps you occupied,” he added

When asked about the plethora of people he has trained in the past and his experience of the same, he responded, “I think I had a short time of month and a half with Aamir Khan. While he was shooting for ‘Talaash’ and was also preparing for ‘Dhoom 3’. That short span with him was very interesting. My training with Lara Dutta also was very interesting. My training with Yukta Mukhi was very meaningful. With Priyanka Chopra, she was only 15 when I touched her, so not have memories with her but I am extremely proud of who she is today. They are the people who are very desiring and these are the people who are sincere as well. They were very disciplined. I remember Aamir used to call me at 3 AM in the night. The very first day, it was a 5:35 reporting and I thought that I would go there and he would then wake up. To my surprise, he was already up and about. These are very focused people, which is why they are successful, which is why they are leaders.”

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Mental health is not just about anxiety and stress: Divija Bhasin, mental health therapist

Mental & Emotional Health Therapist Divija Bhasin opened up to NewsX Influencer A-List about being a therapist in the digital age and responsibilities that come with being an influencer.

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Divija Bhasin, Mental & Emotional Health Therapist, recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of its special series NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive interview, Divija opened up about being a mental and emotional health therapist in the digital age.

Talking about the kind of content she puts out on the Internet, Divija shared, “I make all kinds of things. I don’t just put out psychology or mental health stuff. I put that stuff along with other random or relatable funny stuff, even things that are indirectly related to mental health. Mental health is not just anxiety and stress, it is way more than that. It is also about our family systems and our education and even abuse. I try to make it a little simpler, relatable, and put it out there based on trends. It is like entertainment and education together. “

When asked did therapy come into her life first or being an influencer come first, she responded, “I have always wanted to be a therapist. I have been studying psychology since class 11th. I started out on TikTok last year. I used to make random videos on TikTok, sometimes psychology-related videos. I was just doing it for fun because of the lockdown but then I started gaining a lot of followers. I was like I like it and I am not that bad at it. After it got banned, I switched to Instagram and that’s when I started putting out more serious stuff. I realised that the audience on Instagram likes that and they also appreciate it more. I tried it on TikTok but it didn’t work out that well. Here, my audience likes both. That’s why I put both. I became a therapist after I started making videos not because I wasn’t going to be but because I am still doing my second master’s. While making these videos, I started working with another clinical psychologist. Under her guidance, I took sessions and now since I have some experience, I do private practice.”

When prodded further if these two worlds collide, she added, “Not particularly. It feels like my audience and clients are able to differentiate. They don’t try to talk to me and I make my boundaries clear. In the first session, I send them a formal email, stating that I will not be able to interact with you outside the session, just to maintain boundaries. They all respect that. I haven’t had experiences where my clients would try to become friends with me or something like that on social media. They follow me and like my videos but that’s it.”

Speaking about responsibilities that come with being an influencer, considering the fact that with being a mental health professional, the responsibility is twofold, Divija expressed, “I do have to be extra careful compared to other influencers because I feel like people are looking up to me to give the right information. Every time I put out anything serious, I make sure to read a lot about it, including research papers, not just random things on the Internet, so that it is properly verified and also in case someone questions me and thinks that I am just giving my opinion.”

Mental health is not just anxiety and stress, it is way more than that. It is also about our family systems and our education and even abuse. I try to make it a little simpler, relatable, and put it out there based on trends. It is like entertainment and education together.

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HAPPY POTTER

NAMRATA KUMAR

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The colour green is deemed to be therapeutic and soothing to the eyes. A person with a green thumb is someone who looks after their plants with a passion. Researchers recommend consuming green vegetables and to spend time in green environments whenever one can.

Nurturing plants and even crooning to them is believed to accelerate their growth. It is an opportunity for budding singers to practice their vocal cords for audiences or lack thereof. Humour aside, spending time with our green friends is cheaper than therapy.

People addicted to wanderlust in the current Covid-19 scenario have limited turf to wander on. With the work-from-home culture, many want to create inspiring and cosy nooks to work in while the wanderlust seekers take it a notch up by setting up a tropical vibe at home.

One can go to town making different and imaginative arrangements with plants and pots. As a result of which India-made garden accessories are en vogue.

The pandemic has brought many close(r) to mother nature. The lessons mothers teach us the hard way!

Zoom into the Tier one cities, The Humans of Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore also have different motives in keeping plants in close proximity to them. These cities with Air Quality Indexes that make one cringe have people stressing over not having clean air.

There is a gamut of indoor plants that can diminish pollutants from the air. There is no limit to how creatively these things of joy can be placed. A few popular plants are Areca Palm, Snake Plant, Aloe Vera plant, Spider plant, and Money plant. Plants lend a feel-good vibe to an abode cutting down on toxins in the air rendering them the most cost-effective air purifiers.

Areca palms make aesthetic plants that need moist soil and some sunlight indoors.

Snake plants are the least demanding ones requiring water once a month.

Aloe Vera is a multi-utility plant. Not only does it alleviate the impurities in the air but the gel found inside the plant has therapeutic properties. It maintains its stature without a constant supply of H-2-O.

A home decor aficionado’s dream plant: the Money plant. This decorative plant is easy to look after with a few sprays of water once a week. It winds around the shape of what adjoins it (only if that happened with real money).

There is an array of made-in-India pots to choose from. They are made from myriad materials such as terracotta, brass, glazed ceramic and handmade crochet.

A playful homegrown brand, The Wishing Chair (inset) doles out some charming little hand-painted pots. These bump up the cuteness quotient of any corner. Glazed pot with floral and chevron motifs is their signature style.

For a formal look, plant takers can head over to Mora Taara for their gold-finish and textured planters. Whether you are placing your stack on your workstation or on the floor of a living room these gilded numbers add a luxe feel.

Elementary, a Jaipur brand has a variety of earthy pots. These are minimalist with their geometric lines and are available with subtle tones. They are great extensions to a contemporary style.

The June Shop, a quirky Kolkata-based shop has some game-changing planters too. Their hanging crochet planters are truly special. These babies are suitable for any space ranging from a cosy family room to a covered outdoor patio.

Whatever the time, it is always ripe to nurture what is natural. Plant some seeds of time to potter around. It is sure to do you good. Happy Pottering!

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