BJP president Amit Shah's recent visit to Bengal has energised politics in the state. It holds up the tantalising prospect of a BJP thrust in a polity currently dominated by Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress.
However one interprets them, the municipal elections in Delhi are a severe setback for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Nevertheless, it is apparent the CPI(M)-led Left Front is dying a slow and painful death in Bengal. Those hostile to Trinamool are increasingly shifting their support to the BJP.
The BJP's success owes much to the rainbow coalition it built of the upper castes and urban middle classes, the non-Yadav OBCs and sections of Dalits. The BJP has done this before: in the early 1990s, under the leadership of Kalyan Singh;a broad coalition was stitched together then in the context of the emotive Ayodhya movement.
The budget persists with a Modi-Jaitley resolve: the willingness to sacrifice short-term popularity, even among those who may be BJP voters, to effect a longer-term transformation.
What does one make of Narendra Modi's address on December 31, 2016, after the demonetisation exercise and at the cusp of the New Year? Many have commented that it was low-key and lacked his characteristic flamboyance. The fact is, however, that in his mind, Modi is careful to distinguish between, for example, sober speeches as Prime Minister and rhetorical flourishes ...
While it hardly transacted business, the winter session of parliament marked a transition for the Congress and the opposition. As Sonia Gandhi took a backseat, due to health reasons or out of a desire to give her son more room, Rahul Gandhi became the Congress' prime mover and interface with other opposition parties. He attend parliament regularly, participated in pro...
For Modi, this is not just a political or economic imperative; it is a colossal task of social engineering.
Close to two weeks into the demonetisation exercise, how does one assess it? Frankly, there are several aspects to the episode: the execution, the aspiration, and the medium to long term political impact.
If tough, pre-emptive action against terrorism is now the new normal, then surely guarded statements and not speaking just because there's a mic and camera handy should also become a new norm. The Prime Minister has indicated that. Now he must ensure it happens.
The political willingness to cross the LoC for short distances to pre-empt attacks has now been demonstrated. The genie is out of the bottle; it will not go back. In fact, sooner or later, that genie will seek to travel even further.
The meat of the External Affairs Minister's speech was, of course, on terrorism. She was careful to locate the threat to India - including most recently in Uri - within a worldwide battle against Islamist terrorism that has stretched from Bangkok to Mogadishu and New York to Kabul.
There were three proper nouns Modi used and it is important to understand the context of each.
Unless there is a major "incident" in the intervening period, Modi is likely to make that trip and his Home Minister has in a sense laid the ground for him.
What is the big picture? In 2007 (or even in 2014), it was a case of either the BSP or the BJP taking on the SP, as the party of the lotus and the party of the elephant both targeted key voter groups. In 2017, social alliances are changing. It may well be a BSP versus BJP battle, with the SP pushed down the ladder.