Wellness fight in UP; Biden’s call for more nationalism

This is the latest edition of the Political Line newsletter curated by Varghese K. George

This is the latest edition of the Political Line newsletter curated by Varghese K. George

Who will reap the benefits?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to reap the benefits of a series of social welfare programs its government has rolled out in Uttar Pradesh during the elections. Welfare schemes work for parties. The Samajwadi party tries to match the social welfare policy of the BJP. Its leader Akhilesh Yadav has promised a free ration for the poor for five years, which includes one liter of mustard oil and one kg of ghee per month. Two free LPG bottles a year for the poor are also part of the promise. Among the new schemes the BJP is offering is a ₹1 lakh wedding gift to girls from poor families.

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav | Photo credit: PTI

How does social assistance work in electoral politics? What is the give-and-take? I try to explain.

State of the India-USA union

Commentators who chastise the Narendra Modi government for its protectionist economic policy and emphasis on self-reliance, an original tenet of Indian anti-imperial nationalism, often overlook similar global trends. It was Donald Trump who coined the slogan “Make American Great Again”, taking over his manufacturing base, among other things. Mr. Trump’s exit does not invalidate his policy, which could continue under a Biden presidency, I argued.

Joe Biden

Biden | Photo credit: AP

Mr. Biden’s first State of the Union address was a call for more nationalism in the United States. Correctly and appropriately, Prime Minister Modi quoted the speech to underscore the fact that India was not doing anything out of place in promoting its manufacturing base.

Federalism Tract

The release of Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin’s autobiography was an opportunity to revisit the federalism debate.

Meanwhile, Mr Modi said every citizen should be proud that the world’s oldest language, Tamil, is found in India.

The plight of Indian medical students fleeing Ukraine has brought to the fore the debate over the NEET – the national entrance exam for medical education – which many states oppose as an encroachment on their administrative powers.

Linguistic and cultural conflicts can take their toll, and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war also sheds light on the matter. Of course, the understanding of a situation can be different for different people, as this article points out.

The political line will return next Friday.