I know analysts will be ruthless in their assessment about AAP. Criticism is most welcome. But I want to say with all the humbleness at my command that AAP is here to stay in Indian politics. Those who think that AAP's future is bleak are going to be proven wrong again.
Today, much against expectation and the media rhetoric around me, I would like to place the crown firmly on Amit Shah's head for leading the BJP to one of its most iconic victories in Uttar Pradesh, a mandate that even surpasses the one given to Kalyan Singh in 1991.
On this day, Narendra Modi coloured the Ganga from source to Varanasi in saffron in an astonishing victory that recalls the sweep of the 2014 general election and clearly allows the BJP to set the political agenda until the next general election in 2019 without much opposition.
Here's the big picture: Modi and Shah can celebrate. UP can perhaps look forward to what it has long lacked: co-ordination between state and central governments to solve development problems. In 2019, Modi will start with a giant head start. But he will also, for the first time be playing defence, with no state governments or Congress to blame. Let...
I recall on Sunday, March 5, the "Modi-Modi" chant at Varanasi's Pandeypur from a sea of saffron-capped heads wasn't abating. Every minute, in groups, people with BJP flags in their hands would join the swelling gathering. The BJP had prepared for the PM's Road Show Number Two in Varanasi in as many days. Campaigning was to end the next day.
Whatever else the exit polls may or may not say, they do confirm the big election story - that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has almost single-handedly lifted the BJP in Uttar Pradesh from the depths of despair to one where they are predicted to win outright or at least emerge as the largest single party.
Of course, these polls will be forgotten once the real results start coming in on Saturday. But nothing that they have revealed dents the meta-narrative that has been true for months, even years, now: that Narendra Modi is proceeding swiftly, with assistance from the AAP, towards his long-term goal of a Congress-mukt Bharat.
Over the last week, Suchitra - or at least her Twitter account @SuchitraKarthik (with over 5,00,000 followers) - claimed to expose a casting couch nexus and the way Tamil film producers prey on young actresses.
In UP and Punjab, at stake is the reputation of two leaders, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, one the reigning champion and the other the challenger. Separately, Rahul Gandhi has to prove that he is still politically relevant in the changed scenario.
From 2013 to 2017, the Rs 3,000 crore in the Nirbhaya Fund has remained almost entirely unspent. In 2016 and 2017, the Finance Minister didn't even mention women's safety in his Budget speech. It's back to normal.