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BJP seems to have lost its way

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Saba Naqvi

As a long-time BJP watcher, what is happening now is not making sense to me. Having suffered a setback in the assembly polls (in spite of a creditable fight-back in two states), in the days leading up to the poll results, the actions of the party cause confusion.

Yes, it’s clear that hard Hindutva is on the cards between now and the national elections that will begin in about four months. But hardline politics is also calibrated in ways that make sense – what we have now is utter mayhem, designed to put off the middle-of-the-road voter who bought the message of change and hope offered by Narendra Modi in 2014.

 

I write this piece after seeing footage of crowds gathered in Delhi on a call issued by the RSS and VHP to demand a law to build a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, just days before the results came and the winter session of the Parliament began. As the crowds march on, they shout: “Ek Dhaka aur do/ Jama masjid tod do” (One more push/ bring down the Jama Masjid (of Delhi). I would appeal to the police to take action against those inciting violence, and to the Imam of the masjid to file an FIR.

Is Yogi Adityanath now the face of the politics of the BJP as he campaigned more in these assembly elections than the prime minister? I ask because the over-projection of Yogi Adityanath in these rounds of assembly elections, where hard Hindutva was not really a public issue, is perplexing.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has given a creditable fight-back after three terms, said so in an interview to a leading national daily before voting day. He stated that issues such as the Ram Mandir have their place but are not important in assembly elections that are fought on development and economic issues.

Yet, there was Yogi, traversing regions that he does not rule, while a policeman was shot dead in his own state. He made memorable interventions such as ‘It’s Ali vs Bajrangbali’; “AsadOwaisi will have to flee when the BJP comes to power in Hyderabad”; “the name of Hyderabad will be changed when the BJP comes” and so on.

Borderline hate speeches by the man who is pressing ahead even as the reports from Uttar Pradesh are not encouraging for the BJP. Is he acting autonomously – or is this a strategy coordinated by the national leadership?

The huge mobilisation on the Ram mandir issues confuses as well. For the facts are simple – even if the BJP were to bring an ordinance declaring that a Ram mandir is built at Ayodhya, it would be legally overturned and not be possible to build it as a clutch of cases linked to Ayodhya are being heard in the Supreme Court. The schedule announced by the court does not match the election schedule where the BJP will be on test.

Why then is the RSS now upping the ante for the Ram mandir – even though it’s impossible for the Modi government to deliver? Is the Sangh too doing so as part of a coordinated strategy or just asserting its own powers?

Linked to this is another question. The current display of mobocracy in Uttar Pradesh, where a mob shot dead a policeman in Bulandshahr and in Delhi, where the mob made hate speeches suggest the script is mayhem. But is it a script or are Yogi and the RSS now acting as autonomous units and pressure points on the BJP dispensation at the Centre?

All of the above brings us to the next question – is the BJP convinced that invoking Muslim hate is all that is required to win elections? Especially, as in Assam, there has been resistance, even by sections who support the BJP, to segregate Hindu and Muslim Bengalis and there is always a limit beyond which polarisation does not work?

Beyond ideological issues, let’s move to another point – the sheer abuse the BJP heaps on its opponents. Does the BJP not recognise that heaping abuse and threats on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi makes them the underdogs and evokes sympathy? And making a tasteless remark about the widowhood of a woman whose husband was assassinated is really bad form from no less a figure than the Prime Minister?

Beyond ideological matters, the exit of RBI Governor Urijit Patel suggests another kind of institutional chaos. After what has happened in the CBI, does the party think that the middle class is so enamoured by the idea of hating Muslims that they are comfortable with institutional degradation? Does the party not worry that a section of the middle class that supports the idea of a strong leader because it suggests order may get put off when they see chaos?

The day before the assembly polls result were declared, an NDA ally, UpendraKushwaha, who has three MPs in Parliament, quit the government. As a member of a caste-based party with some clout in Bihar, this is not a good sign for the BJP in a state where politics works strictly on the arithmetic of caste and community. Another NDA ally, JitanramMajhi, had already left and joined the opposition led by Laloo Prasad Yadav’s RJD. (The joke in Delhi now is that if the ultimate weather-wane Ram Vilas Paswan exits NDA, then it’s certain that the BJP is in trouble).

There is also a caste insensitive strategy currently on display in Uttar Pradesh, the state from where the BJP got most of its MPs. Across the country, Yogi Adityanath may be only understood as a Hindutva hardliner. But within UP, the other dimension to his persona is that he is a Thakur (Gorakhnath Mutt, of which he is the head, is a Thakur order) to add to which Yogi is not diplomatic.

Inside the state, therefore, the CM is seen as promoting what is referred to as ‘Thakur-vaad’. This puts off other communities.

A Dalit MP from Bahraich in the state, with the evocative name of SavitribaiPhule, quit the party last week, saying the party does not work for social justice. Is the BJP not worried?

Most significantly, the state is home to most of the country’s Brahmins, who make up 10 per cent of the population and are a significant voter bloc. There has been a traditional Brahmin-Thakur rivalry (Thaks make up 8.5 per cent) that has only been accentuated by Adityanath Yogi’s lack of tact or finesse. In 2014, differences of caste were papered over by the Modi wave. Now, the resentments are simmering.

The direction in which the BJP is moving therefore no longer makes political sense.

There seems to be a loss of control over institutions, cadre and most significantly, the chief minister of the nation’s largest state, who does not take instructions from anyone. When a party begins to lose the battle of perception, it’s hard to control the slide if you just respond with chaos and if autonomous power centres chart their own scripts.


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Infinix S4 Smartphone With Triple Rear Cameras, X Band 3 Fitness Band Launched

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Infinix S4 has now been launched in India, after the launch of the Smart 3 Plus last month. The phone sports a triple rear camera setup, a rear fingerprint sensor, and a waterdrop-style notch. The Infinix S4 key features include the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, a 6.21-inch large display, Android 9 Pie software, a 32-megapixel selfie sensor, and a 4,000mAh battery. The company also launched the X Band 3 fitness band alongside the smartphone, and it comes with real-time heart rate monitoring and up to 20-day battery life.

Infinix S4, X Band 3 price in India

Infinix S4 is priced in India at Rs. 8,999. The phone will be available on Flipkart from May 28 at 12pm (noon) IST. It will be available in Nebula Blue, Space Grey, and Twilight Purple colour options. The X Band 3, on the other hand, is priced in India at Rs. 1,599 and will be available on Flipkart from June 4.

 

Infinix S4 specifications

As for specifications, the dual-SIM Infinix S4 runs on Android Pie-based XOS 5.0. The phone features a 6.21-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and 2.5D curved glass display protection. The phone is powered by the 2GHz MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM. Internal storage is at 32GB with the option to expand further using a dedicated microSD card (up to 256GB).

The triple rear camera setup at the back houses – a primary 13-megapixel snapper with f/1.8 aperture, another 8-megapixel 120 degrees ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a last 2-megapixel camera as well. The rear setup is accompanied by a Quad-LED flash. Up front, the Infinix S4 will have a 32-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and screen flash. Features include auto scene detection across eight modes including portrait, text, night, backlight HDR, blue sky, sports and others.

The phone packs a 4,000mAh battery, the dimensions measure at 156x75x7.9mm, and it weighs 155 grams. Connectivity options include Bluetooth v5, Micro-USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3.5mm audio jack, and more. The phone supports Face Unlock and a rear fingerprint sensor as well. Sensors on board include a G-sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, and compass.

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Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 Announced With Improved Camera and More

The Kashmir Monitor

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Google is bringing the second edition of its eye-wearable device — Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, with improved camera, USB Type-C port and safety frames.

Google Glass is a small, lightweight wearable computer with a transparent display that brings information into your line of sight.

“Glass Enterprise Edition 2 helps businesses further improve the efficiency of their employees,” Jay Kothari, Project Lead, Glass at Google, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

 

To enable significant power-saving, support for computer vision and advanced Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform that comes with a multi-core CPU.

The company says, Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is easier to develop for and deploy. In order to support scaled deployments, Google has also added support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management to the wearable.

The price of the second edition of Google Glass remain undisclosed as of now.

“Enterprise businesses interested in using Glass Enterprise Edition 2 can contact our sales team or our network of Glass Enterprise solution partners starting today.

We’re excited to see how our partners and customers will continue to use Glass to shape the future of work,” Kothari added.

In August 2017, Streye, a “Glass for Work” partner started selling the eye-wearable device Google Glass Enterprise Edition starting from $1,829 (roughly Rs. 1.3 lakhs).

Google sells the eye-wearable device with “Glass for Work” partners which are authorised to develop and deliver enterprise solutions for Glass customers.

The device has been known to be helping scientists study brain disease, during emergency and teach Morse code in four hours.

The first Google Glass was introduced with much fanfare in 2014. At $1,500, it promised a new, bold era for information.

People, however, realised the device was not yet ready to be part of their lives. There were safety and health concerns. The built-in camera raised privacy and piracy issues too.

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Juhi Chawla supports her kids dreams

The Kashmir Monitor

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Actress Juhi Chawla says her son Arjun is good at mimicking accents and that he is hilarious, so sometimes she feels that he can probably try his hand at acting.

Juhi is currently living out of a suitcase, swinging between Mumbai, Kolkata and the UK where her teenaged children are put up in a boarding school.

In times when star kids have a ready launch-pad for their Bollywood career to take off, Juhi has shared about her children’s interests.

 

“My small monkey Arjun has clearly told us, ‘Mom don’t even think about it’. With Jahnavi, I’m not so sure. Arjun is quite funny and good with mimicking accents. He’s actually hilarious, so I feel sometimes that he could maybe try,” Juhi said in a statement.

“Jahnavi is an avid reader. If there is anything she likes in this world, and if you ask her what she wants as a gift, it will be a book. She said she wanted to be a writer.

“Then she went through a phase where she said ‘Okay I want to be a model’. Tomorrow she might say ‘I want to be an actress’. Then she might say she wants to drop all this and do sports. I don’t know, but I have learnt one thing that you have to let your children do what they want,” she added.

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