Monday, March 03, 2014

A Tax On Kejriwal BS (Day 9: Current Value 32152)

Day: Total 32152

Note: It was originally on twitter. Posting here for sake of convenience

As Alex Tabarrok succinctly put it, A Bet is a Tax on Bullshit.

In that spirit posting my original tweet

"Here it goes if any AAP supporter can show single instance where criticized Sonia Gandhi I will donate 2000 to AAP pls RT"

Now conditions (rather obvious):

1 The criticism must predate original tweet
2. The money is meant for AAP or a charity of winners choosing, not meant for personal gain.
3. People are free to pool money for the bet, however I am giving commitment only for myself, not for others
4 (Update) The criticism should be by Kejriwal NOT AAP and it should be of Sonia Gandhi personally in clear words and NOT Rahul Gandhi, Robert Vadera, Congress Party, High Command, Establishment or some other ambiguous or vaguely worded entity. Further the criticism or allegation should be for either act of commission and omission for corruption/graft/some other crime it CAN NOT BE ANYTHING ELSE.

By now few tweeples have pooled money for bet, for every new commitment the post will be updated with name of the tweeple and amount

The present value of the bet and tweeple who have pooled money

Myself 2000 (in the orig tweet)
@Keshda 101 (here)
@yogye 500 (here)
@kalpesh0304 2K (here)
@rohans84 2014(here)
@trlpathl 2K (here)
@TheGod4Atheism 2K (here)
@Abhi_BJP 251 (here)
@neha_aks 2014 (here)
@RaviGarg_iitm 1001 (here)
@Meluhan1 272 (here)
@shreak9 3K (here)
@ajayendar 101(here)
@adirajub 101(here)
@bhak_sala 420 (here)
@slyandsulk 1001(here)
@YashwantCharan 101(here)
@MistryMania 1001(here)
@shaleenchikara 500 (here)
@mnshzz 2014 (here)
@TheAv_ator 1000 (here)
@drgpradhan 2000 (here)
@hanpra 420 (here)
@nitin_goyal 2000 (here)
@AgentSaffron 420(here)
@ChdryPk 420 (here)
@liesfail 1000 (here)
@SpunamiR 2500 (here)

Friday, February 14, 2014

How to survive a zombie outbreak while campaigning for Lok Sabha.

Quick thoughts on Kejriwal's resignation.

Well if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, more importantly if wishes were Alison Brie, engineering students would be very happy. That however, is not the point of the post.

When I wrote about solving Saint Kejriwal, I was also wishing for the possibility however feeble of averting the scenario of Kejriwal launching an aggressive campaign for Lok Sabha.

Of course Kejriwal being a shrewd political operative made the same calculation, and was going to do everything to escape from the facing scrutiny for governance, and he did just that successfully.

He is being mocked by BJP supporters, and it is possible he might amount to nothing. still I remain wary of the potential for damage that Kejriwal possess to Narendra Modi's juggernaut.

To understand this, one must understand the dynamics underpinning AAP meteoritic rise. It is simply this, urban population, in particular middle class, is outraged at the political class including, not without justification, mired in culture of civic and political ignorance, Kejriwal provides two functions. The more familiar role, is of hope, of promise to deliver from the morass. The less recognize role is that of outlet for catharsis, for venting out all the frustration and  anger that middle class has against "the system".

Kejriwal's main purpose was never to govern, or to eliminate corruption. His aim as far as 2014 Lok Sabha elections are concerned, is to undercut BJP as much as possible, either resulting outright in third front government or a weak BJP government which will hopefully collapse before its terms.

Kejriwal plan is to wage an aggressive no holds barred campaign against Modi in order to undercut him. In that he hopes to channel above mention anger of middle class to build and sustain momentum of his campaign.

Is there any way to mitigate the damage that Kejriwal may cause to BJP campaign, in my view there are six ways to do this.

1. To employ Arnobspeak, Modi must never ever, ever ever engage with Kejriwal mano-o-mano, that will allow Kejriwal to draw Modi in a personal contest, to Modi's disadvantage in my view.

2. Modi should de-emphasize corruption as issue. That will expose BJP's flank to attack by Kejriwal. BJP supporters may argue till the cows come home that Gadkari and Yeddyurappa are not guilty. However in elections popular perceptions matter and as far as public perception goes BJP is as guilty of Congress as Congress.

3. Modi must emphasize his credentials as outsider to Delhi Durbaar. Modi's campaign should run a below the radar campaign silently delinking himself from the intrigues and shenanigans of Delhi leadership

4. He must put development at centre of his campaign. He must convince middle class that growth should the first priority for the next government.

5. If corruption is BJP vulnerability, capability and stability are its strong points.  Even though Modi campaign shouldn't make personal attacks on Kejriwal, it must weaken Kejriwal by emphasizing importance of stable ad capable government. Middle class should be scared with prospect of havoc caused by unstable and inept government at the centre. This has the advantage that performance and capability are achilles heels for Kejriwal.

6. Last BJP should try to subvert Kejriwal campaign from within by waging war of attrition. Whenever Kejriwal is mentioned in the news cycle it should be about the conspiracies and brinkmanship like binny episode within his campaign. The time Kejriwal spends on firefighting within his campaign, is the he can't damage Modi's campaign.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to Out-Kejriwal Kejriwal (Or How Do You Solve A Problem Like Kejriwal - II) Updated

Note: Update at the end

This post is sort of update of previous post. Also to clarify this post is based mostly on stray observations and not on empirical data.

Here are some more suggestions on how to tackle Kejriwal, but before that how not to tackle him.

1. Narendra Modi shouldn't directly engage with him, never punch below your weight. Once Modi directly addresses Kejriwal he will be treated on par with Modi by media and from that point onwards Media will compulsorily contrast any any coverage of Modi will become

2. BJP leaders should always be engage with Kejriwal respectfully, and observe the decorum.

This needs explanation. Personally I have nothing but distaste for Kejriwal, the man is a rank opportunist, the way he has dealt with BJP since start of India Against Corruption has been nothing short of utterly dishonest, boorish, and uncouth. I can understand if some BJP leaders are tempted to pay the populist charlatan in the same coin. However as tempting as the prospect may be, BJP must eschew it, in fact it should pass this throughout its chain of leaders and cadres, any engagement with Kejriwal must not cross the bounds of civil discourse.

Why is that ? Glad you asked!

In any fight Arvind Kejriwal will be the underdog, as far as optics go plebeians don't appreciate top dog pummeling underdog, there is a further glitch, BJP is part of political class. At present, middle class is downright hostile to political class, blaming it, not without some justification for present catastrophe.

Kejriwal has shrewdly positioned himself at champion of "aam aadmi". In what should concern any BJP well wisher, the middle class supporter doesn't just support Kejriwal he identifies with him. any ill advised comment against him by any BJP leader will be perceived by Kejriwal supporter as assault on him, an aam aadmi, by the all powerful political machinery.

Kejriwal is aware of this, which is why he will continue with his utterly disgraceful passive aggressive act to provoke some BJP leader into making some kind of personal remarks, after which Kejriwal can bask in the glory of martyrdom, a hero having to undergo personal humiliation for sake of public.
This is all the more reason why BJP should not fall in Kejriwal's trap

So what should BJP do then.

To summarize previous graph, Kejriwal is covered by deflector shield, before BJP can take him down it must destroy the shield. As I suggested in previous post BJP should relentlessly subject Kejriwal to intense scrutiny, however the focus of scrutiny shouldn't  be on personal honesty and integrity of Kejriwal which will be counter-productive, but on a. his competence to govern and his ability to seize of the issues b. honesty of rest of the the AAP members c. his judgement

To give an example, when criticizing Kejriwal's many flip flops, BJP shouldn't question his honesty, but his judgement and competence, further more BJP must emphasize the cost in terms of money, time as well as governance to public caused by theatrics of Kejriwal and his party

Above all BJP must eschew the temptation to reply in kind, it must not resort to histrionics or any kind of action that can be seen as gimmicky, instead all its criticism, arguments and policy pronouncement must be calm, dispassionate and well reasoned. Above all, BJP should try its utmost to impress upon public that its criticism of Kejriwal is not opportunistic, but a result of concern for public well being.

Above discussion doesn't mean Kejriwal can't be paid back in the same coin, only that BJP can't be involved with that. It is possible to out-Kejriwal Kejriwal by organizing otherwise apolitical section of people behind specific emotional hot button issues.

For instance, it shouldn't be difficult to start a agitation against Kejriwal's remarks on Batla encounter or Bhushan's stand on Kashmir or Naxalism, it will hurt Kejriwal's credibility even more if those directly involved with issue were to participate in the agitation. Similarly agitation can be started wrt even policy issues. Only condition to this is BJP's fingerprints shouldn't be visible on this/

The above two pronged attack can damage the positive public image of Kejriwal through attrition enabling BJP to go in for kill.

 Update: One point missed in above discussion was the role of social media, so far BJP supporters have been very strong in social media, however their monopoly has been challenged by Kejriwal supporters. Although role of social media is exaggerated, it does play a important role both for BJP and AAP.
My observation so far has been that majority of AAP supporters are as uncouth and deluded as Kejriwal, nature of the platform. Nature of the platform and the behavior by AAP supporters tempts BJP supporters to reply in kind. I confess, I am guilty of this too. However, if we want to persuade Kejriwal supporter to see the reality of AAP, we must control our urges, we must not make any personal attacks on interlocutor, further as far as possible we should try to refrain from making personal attacks on Kejriwal.

I am not sure if this is practically possible, I am pretty convinced it will not be possible in my case.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Man Who Stares At Abyss

Let's be honest, most of the IITians overestimate themselves (present company included). As it turns out this is actually a desirable trait for management.

However managerial ineptitude is comparitvely benign compared to the scenario when to this hubris is added typical sanctimony of the jhola wielding leftist.

 The result is a self righteous man afflicted with Messiah complex, who even though doesn't know how to do it and who even though is aware (and in fact acknowledges cheerfully) that he doesn't know how to do it, will not be dissuaded from unleashing a revolution to "immanentize the eschaton" (as wonderfully put by Eric Voegelin), even if the end result is utter destruction of institutions and customs which faithfully serve the society.

This man romances nihilism, he earnestly believes that to save the village it must be burned.

Monday, December 30, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Kejriwal (Updated)

Update at the end

At the end of this post I had cautioned about the remote possibility of Kejriwal playing spoilsports. Well with the Delhi elections the possibility just got less remote. The surprising turn of events culminating in Arvind Kejriwal taking oath as Chief Minister has dramatically altered the possibilities for Lok Sabha.

In a nutshell Arvind Kejriwal has become the great secular hope. Our sec-lib establishment which is desperate to stop Modi juggernaut has come around to view Kejriwal as its champion. For them such a drastic turnaround in their view has a simple logic, Kejriwal appeals most to urban middle class voters, which used to be core constituency for BJP and more importantly Modi must attract if he hopes to upstage Delhi Sultanate. For the establishment then, the calculation becomes straightforward, more Kejriwal is successful in convincing urban voters, less likely Modi is to be at the helm of the things.

The problem for the BJP in my view is that the assessment of establishment seems correct. Anecdotal evidence suggests that even normally apathetic and apolitical middle class is warming up to Kejriwal. Kejriwal, and his network of highly motivated volunteers can leverage their strong online presence to quickly scale up their political operations at the grassroots and hence convert positive perception for Kejriwal into votes.

Ofcourse this will not convert into many Lok Sabha seats for Kejriwal at such a short notice. But it will undercut BJP votes which is the main aim of establishment and I suspect Kejriwal.

Going forward, strategy for establishment media is going to be simple, wall to wall positive coverage of Kejriwal (accompanied by incessant negative coverage of BJP), similarly expect Kejriwal to reserve and direct his strongest attacks on Modi and BJP.

Which brings us to our main concern, how should BJP tackle Kejriwal. I am afraid that in terms of immediate action, there is hardly anything BJP can do. The reasons behind Kejriwal's appeal to middle class is his status as political neophyte as well as his open contempt and disdain for political system and process, both of which resonates with middle class. It is clear BJP being on wrong side of both the issues, can not hope to convince the disenchanted middle class.

Luckily though, BJP has a crucial ally, his name is Arvind Kejriwal.

Currently middle class is smitten with him, however as the quotidian reality of governance sinks, the untenable nature of blatantly populist policies of Kejriwal will gradually become clear to middle class and hopefully its fascination with Kejriwal will wear off.

Both Kejriwal and Congress realize this. I am reasonably sure that as a countermeasure they are looking for "martyrdom" of Kejriwal. Congress will withdraw support from Kejriwal on some pretext or other. It will not endear Congress to middle class, however at this point Congress has reconciled itself to middle class voting against it. Crucially for Congress, such a "martyrdom" act by Kejriwal will further boost his popularity among the middle class.

BJP can foil this strategy by deploying "liquid oxygen". In a famous Ajeet joke, the villains asks his henchman "Raabert" to throw hero in "liquid oxygen", reasoning, liquid will not let the hero live and oxygen will not let the hero die. This is exactly how BJP should proceed.

First the oxygen, BJP should promise that it will play role of constructive opposition, further it should promise then if Congress withdraws support on any flimsy grounds, it will not vote against Kejriwal government.

Now the liquid part, BJP should do its utmost to keep pressure on Kejriwal, by questioning and exposing the harebrained schemes of Kejriwal and Gang, by subjecting each and every step of Aam Aadmi Party to intense scrutiny, and publicizing every shenanigans to middle class.

And hope that middle class will wake up from its dream.

Update: As always I forgot one minor point, by denying Kejriwal his "martyrdom" act and keeping heat on him, BJP can ensure that Kejriwal remains pinned to Delhi and is unable to cause any nationwide damage.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal's tips for performance appraisal

Many eons ago, when Ravikiran had not been bitten by Ayn Rand, he had written an excellent post on Sonia Gandhi, this post is inspired by the same post.

Manager: So how do you assess your performance ?

Arvind Kejriwal: I think that my performance has been outstanding.

M: Well that's interesting, because I see you have not delivered anything in the last year!

AK: That's correct.

M: In that case, don't you think your self assessment is a bit inflated.

AK: Not at all, you see, you are looking at this from the wrong angle.

M: I am not sure I follow you, see for example Narendra and his team have delivered a killer app to our customers and while Rahul and his legacy team have been nothing but disaster at the least they have delivered something.

AK: See. that is the problem, this obsession with delivery. May I suggest this is the wrong way of appraising, and further, if I may, there is a better way.

M: Oh really, well what is that better way.

AK: Why good man, it is just before your eyes. See I have not produced a single bug. Whereas, your much vaunted Narendra model of software development has resulted in nothing but tens and tens of bugs. It is clear that both Narendra and Rahul are failures.

M: Now wait a minute, Rahul and his team has worked since the beginning of this company, and they have more experience, on the other hand Narendra and his team delivered a far better product in far lesser time than Rahul and team. In fact I am thinking of promoting Narendra.

AK: No! You must not do that, you have been deceived by Narendra using ideas such as delivery and what not. Our top priority, scratch that, our only priority, should be quality. We can not compromise on it. In fact I propose that zero defect should be our only goal, delivery should be optional, in fact since delivery is impediment in achieving zero defect goal, I think we should do away with delivery. And I think you will agree that no one is more qualified to achieve goal of zero defect without delivering anything whatsoever than myself.

M: Now that you have put it this way, your logic seems impeccable to me, I think I will promote you instead.

AK: Now that this small matter is out of the way, here is my list of 18 conditions before I accept promotion.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our bad luck

Note: Not a blog, not a micro blog, it's a mini blog!

In his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, set in late 21st century, Robert Heinlein depicted India as a country still beset by famines and on verge of starvation, getting grain supplies from lunar colonies!
At time I was reading it, I ascribed this due to certain reflexive antipathy which west harbours towards India. At any rate, this struck me as extremely ludicrous, however, the way things are turning, the scenario looks like a distinct possibility.

Ah, I guess we can chalk this one to bad luck